Even as institutions dedicated to glass art struggle with fundraising, an art museum in the Pacific Northwest with substantial glass holdings broke all previous records for its annual fundraising event, including a whopping $534,000 in direct contributions. On Saturday evening, July 21st, The Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington, which has a focus on art, craft and design, raised over $1 million at its annual fundraising gala titled “Artful Evening.” This amount is nearly 50-percent more than the previous year, and almost double what was raised in 2010. “We’re immensely grateful for the community’s support,” said the Bellevue’s managing director Larry Wright in a prepared statement.
The museum’s exponential growth in support seems to have coincided with the institution’s broadening scope—it was only in 2005 that it added craft and design to its art purview. That year, the museum raised less than $100,000 through it’s auction. A scant six years later, fundraising has grown by a factor of more than 10. (Last year, over $685,000 had been raised, an all-time high until it was just eclipsed by this year’s impressive result).
“Seeing the strong commitment of our community is an inspiration to all of us at BAM,” says Stefano Catalani, director of curatorial affairs/artistic director. “BAM’s trajectory at the forefront of art, craft and design has been truly remarkable. I couldn’t be more excited about the future.”
One reason for the extraordinary results was the effort of individual board members to leverage donations with matching funds. The Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation pledged to double all donations received by July 27th with no upper limit and regardless of whether or not people attended the event. Generous matching of $100,000 total was also provided by museum supporters Jane and David Davis, Kemper and Betty Freeman, Artful Evening Honorary Co‐Chairs Susan and Lonnie Edelheit and Honorees Joyce and John Price. A total of $534,000 in direct contributions to BAM was the result, the highest amount to date, with new donations still coming in.
The July 21st fundraising gala was a sell-out event, and began with a tour of the more than 100 donated art objects going under the gavel led by the museum’s curatorial affairs director Catalani and curator Nora Atkinson. A dinner followed, with a Kip Toner-led live auction featuring work by celebrated artists such as Dale Chihuly, Etsuko Ichikawa, Sabrina Knowles & Jenny Pohlman, Lino Tagliapietra, Cappy Thompson, and Dick Weiss.