Exercising Hands and Hearts Through Art

Residents of Wyatt House enjoy monthly visits from BAC teaching artists. Gallery photo.

Through our posts in the last few weeks, you’ve learned about the wide variety of art, education, and outreach programs we implement across Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County. We hope you’ve been inspired to help complete our big picture by making a generous donation during our drive! Read on to learn about two of our important art outreach programs.

“This program has helped (seniors) to remember and experience their youthful side that many have forgotten. The smiles and joy they express are beyond words. I applaud Bainbridge Arts & Crafts and its artists for bringing this wonderful program to the seniors of Bainbridge Island.”
Linda Wakefield, Bainbridge Senior Living staff member

Art After 60 and Art in the Lobby provide therapeutic art opportunities for the most vulnerable in our community, enabling them to stretch their creative muscles, gain respite through creativity, and connect with others.

It’s well documented that senior citizens who regularly engage in creative pursuits experience reduced stress and increased well-being. Making art exercises the mind, the hands, and the heart, all especially important to the quality of later life. For seniors living in assisted living facilities, away from their families, creative projects can become even more meaningful.

This is exactly what Art After 60 is about: improving local seniors’ quality of life by taking visual art activities to them, and using instruction time as an opportunity to foster social engagement. Once per month since 2008, our teaching artists have visited three Bainbridge Senior Living facilities: Madison Avenue House, Madrona House, and Wyatt House.

Creating together fosters friendship and connection. Gallery photo.

“I have been fortunate to see how much the Bainbridge Arts & Crafts’ Art After 60 project has inspired so many of our seniors over the past years,” said Bainbridge Senior Living staff representative Linda Wakefield. “Throughout those years this program has reached a great number of seniors and given them an opportunity to be creative, express themselves, and form healthy relationships with other seniors and artists.”

Similarly, our Art in the Lobby program brings interactive therapeutic art activities to hospital patients, families, and staff to provide relaxation and stress relief through creativity. Research has shown that the process of making art enhances patients’ recovery, health, and wellness—much like it does for our senior community. Since 2007, Art in the Lobby has placed artists in the Harrison Medical Center Bremerton lobby once a week during the summer to lead demonstrations and hands-on art activities free of charge.
Teaching artist Robin Charters describes how the benefits from a single session at the hospital can have an effect on more than one person. “A young man in full scrubs came by where I had set up a demo table with pastels. He stopped, sat down and immediately started drawing a simple daffodil. When he was done and ready to leave I encouraged him to sign it. He hesitated, but eventually did. He didn’t want to keep the painting and was off quickly.

“A bit later a woman who was waiting for her husband to come out of surgery was admiring the daffodil painting. I asked if she’d like to have it; it was almost time for me to leave. She looked at me and asked, ‘Really??’

“‘Of course’, I replied, and told her who made it. She was so pleased and immediately said she would frame it and hang it up at home. She walked away with her painting, so happy. That young man has no idea what he did that day, but I do.”

BAC teaching artist Fred Truitt (left) guides a resident in his creative exploration. Gallery photo.

Bainbridge Arts & Crafts operates on the principle that people of all ages, abilities, and economic means benefit from and deserve creative opportunities. Making art of any sort—whether it’s a picture, a line of music, or a story—grounds us in humanity.

Join us in our commitment to that principle, and support these important programs by donating today.

Pledge through Kitsap Great Give, and your gift will be amplified, thanks to the Kitsap Community Foundation and United Way of Kitsap County. 






When Art Plays a Part in Wellness

“BAC’s art on our walls makes our patients feel more at home. It’s a reminder that there is beauty in the world despite the troubles they are currently facing. The art is uplifting.”

 – Berit Madsen, MD, Director, Peninsula Cancer Center

Two paintings by artist Brooke Borcherding brighten Peninsula Cancer Center’s reception area. Gallery photo.


Throughout our Fund Drive—now about halfway through—we’ve shared stories about the programs that your gift supports. Through these programs, art plays many roles besides that of wall décor. Here’s an example:

In the last weeks of his life, an elderly man losing a battle with cancer found a place where he felt a sense of peace and belonging in the unlikeliest of places: his cancer treatment facility—or, more specifically, in front of a piece of art that hung on the facility’s wall. Throughout his many visits, the gentleman had come to love sitting in his wheelchair right in front of that painting, which depicted a peaceful forest landscape with golden sunlight filtering through the trees. As he gazed into the scene, he would declare to his caregivers and his daughter who brought him in for his treatments, “That’s where I’m going. That’s where I belong.”

That painting was hanging in Peninsula Cancer Center (PCC), in Poulsbo, Washington, just one of several organizations and healthcare facilities throughout Kitsap County that take part in our Art Rental Program, in which a selection of original artworks are thoughtfully curated and installed by our staff on facility walls. The works hang for a period of six months, then rotate out for a fresh selection.

Art in public places adds life to any environment, but it can really make a difference in a healthcare setting. That’s not lost on oncologist Berit Madsen, co-founder of PCC, whose goal has always been to provide a warmer, brighter place for her patients to receive care than the usual sterile hospital setting. “Patients love the art,” says Dr. Madsen. “We get comments all day long about the positive environment which it fosters.”

Dr. Madsen learned about BAC’s Art Rental Program years ago from Catherine Michel, the interior designer she hired to design the Center. Catherine herself had been Dr. Madsen’s patient in 2001, and the two became close friends. Catherine, also a fine artist, suggested reaching out to BAC to get help “filling the space with real art.” Says Catherine, “We didn’t want to just hang posters in the corridors, we wanted something meaningful, and art can reach so many more people on these walls.” Since then, the works of many BAC artists have inspired and comforted PCC patients. Some artists themselves have been patients. In fact, two of Catherine Michel’s pieces were hung at PCC this week.

Interior designer/BAC artist Catherine Michel (left) and PCC director Dr. Berit Madsen chat about their years of friendship and collaboration. They are seated in front of two of Catherine’s artworks—both BAC Art Rental pieces. Gallery photo.

This program is yet one more piece of our bigger picture as the only nonprofit art gallery in Kitsap County that supports working artists’ livelihoods through year-round exhibitions and sales, while also providing completely free art education and outreach to schools, seniors, and the healthcare community.

You can ensure that this meaningful program continues to benefit patients, their families, facility personnel—and of course, the artists themselves. Please donate today and help us complete the picture that shares the nurturing and curative power of art.


Lou Cabeen: Charting the “Geography of Hope”

Lou Cabeen

Accomplished Seattle textile artist Lou Cabeen is a former professor at the University of Washington, so it’s no surprise that her artworks develop from a place of intellectual inquiry. Says Lou, “My work reflects my ongoing effort to discover what I know by bringing to my worktable my experience, my insight and my questions, trusting that meaning will emerge as I see surfaces, textures and imagery emerge.” In short, she makes art to help her understand a subject she doesn’t know.

Hailing from the relatively flat landscape of central Illinois, one subject unknown to her when she moved to the Puget Sound region was the imposing geography of mountains—Mt. Rainier in particular. She recalls the sense of awe she felt realizing that something so enormous and close on the horizon could actually appear and disappear from view. “It was terrifying,” she says.

As she came to know the region better, she was further fascinated by the mountain’s natural watershed system—another new subject to explore as a Midwesterner who was only familiar with watersheds in the man-made context of agricultural industry.

Lou Cabeen, Cedar River Watershed (detail). Silk organza and hand-stitching.

In our April exhibition, “Geography of Hope,” Lou Cabeen’s artist books and other textile works show us her path of contemplation and inquiry from the Pacific Northwest to Appalachia as she literally traced paths of watersheds and rivers with her stitches and collage, honoring both her gratitude for the natural order, and her grief for its degradation at the hands of human intervention.

While the work is painstaking, it is what keeps her grounded. “My hand-stitching is a physical act that slows me down and helps me make sense of that which I don’t understand.”

“Geography of Hope” will run from March 31 through April 23.

On Saturday, April 8, join Lou at BAC for a free gallery talk, which will include readings from her artist books, discussion and Q&A focusing on the creation of the works and the topical themes which inspired them.

BAC’s Spring Fund Drive is on NOW!

If you’re a fan of the First Friday Art Walk on Bainbridge Island, you know that BAC is one of the hottest stops on the tour. The receptions are lively and engaging, bringing the community together to celebrate and support fine contemporary art by Northwest artists at all points in their artistic careers.

BAC Fund DriveBut did you know that Bainbridge Arts & Crafts remains the only nonprofit art gallery in Kitsap County that not only supports working artists’ livelihoods through those year-round exhibitions and sales, but also provides completely free art education and outreach to schools, seniors, and the healthcare community?

Sales of artwork are not enough to support those programs. To complete this picture, we need you. Our Annual Fund Drive is on now, and we hope that you’ll consider a gift.

When you make a gift to BAC, you help ensure that:

Talented, hardworking artists receive ongoing opportunities to show and sell their work. Our special exhibitions and front-of-house gallery showcase artwork by 250 Northwest artists.

K-12 student artists get a chance to exhibit art and develop their talent. Each year we host two student shows and award three college scholarships to talented high school seniors.

Local art teachers get help obtaining needed supplies. This year we distributed $3,260 in grants to fill the gap in art teachers’ supply and program budgets. We’d like to give them more!

Seniors in retirement centers get access to free art education at their residences. Last year, Art After 60 served 30 seniors per month at three centers, creating transformative opportunities for residents to socialize, share stories, and become artists.

People in hospitals and treatment centers experience the healing power of art. Art Rental and Art in the Lobby take artwork and free art activities into healthcare settings, helping to ease stress and promote well-being in patients, families, and even staff.

You see BAC’s brushstrokes everywhere.  Help us complete the picture and donate today.

Thank you!

Annual K-12 Teacher Grants Delivered Across Bainbridge Island

Sakai Intermediate School art teacher Maggie Hitchcock (left) receives her grant check from BAC executive director Lindsay Masters.


BAC provides annual funding to Bainbridge art teachers to supplement their supply and programming budgets, and to give teachers the means to complete student projects over the remainder of the school year.

“Art teachers are creative and ingenious by nature, and they put those skills to work every day to develop innovative, exciting art projects on extremely tight budgets,” BAC Executive Director Lindsay Masters said. “Year after year, teachers tell us that their BAC grants come along at just the right time, enabling them to carry out art education programs and restock fundamental materials such as clay, paper, paint, and brushes.

“As a longstanding visual arts nonprofit, we’re extremely proud to be able to support our teachers, students, and schools through these grants.”

2017 funds were distributed during the first week of March to Blakely Elementary, Ordway Elementary, Wilkes Elementary, Sakai Intermediate School, Woodward Middle School, Hyla Middle School, Odyssey Multiage Program, and Eagle Harbor High School. Remaining funds will be distributed to Bainbridge High School in May, in conjunction with the annual BHS Student Art Fair. Grants ranged from $100 to $600 per school, depending on the number of students served.

And the Amy Award goes to…Adam Bentz!

Bainbridge Arts & Crafts and Arts & Humanities Bainbridge are delighted to announce the recipient of the 2017 Amy Award for Emerging Artists, furniture artist Adam Bentz. Congratulations to this deserving artist, who will be presented with a $4,000 cash award at a private reception in May.

Learn more about Adam on our Amy Award page.

How a Refugee Supports a Refuge


Artist Henry Dietrich. Photo courtesy Tom Lonner.

If you’ve visited our gallery anytime within the last five or six years, it’s likely that you’ve spotted an ever-revolving display of paintings by mid-century painter Henry Dietrich. Their bold colors and the sharply delineated contours of their subjects are hard to miss.

German-born Dietrich started his art career at age 16, immersing himself in drawing and painting. He enrolled in a prestigious Berlin art school in 1935, but during the rise of the Third Reich, half-Jewish Dietrich was told he would not be allowed to continue his studies. Finding refuge in Shanghai—China being the only country he could enter without a visa—he met his wife-to-be, Martha, in 1944. The couple set out to make a new life in the United States in 1948, following which Dietrich produced a staggering 500 paintings until his death in 2000.

Henry Dietrich paintings

Newly delivered works of Henry Dietrich arrive in our annex.

Despite his clear talent, distinctive artistic voice, and the prolific nature of his work, Henry distrusted galleries and gallery representation. Thus, much of the work he produced remained unsold. He made his living as an illustrator for The San Francisco Chronicle.

Bainbridge Island couple Tom Lonner and Elizabeth Ward became great friends with the Dietrichs while they too lived in the Bay Area at the time. Upon Henry’s death, he bequeathed more than 400 of his paintings to them.

With the recent settlement of Martha Dietrich’s estate, we are pleased to present some of the last remaining works of Henry Dietrich’s, some of Martha’s favorites, which she kept on her own walls until her passing.

The couple pondered the fate of such a large collection, wondering if they could make a bigger impact by facilitating the sale of Henry’s works. Elizabeth, a board member of West Sound Wildlife Shelter (WSWS), decided to give that organization the opportunity to sell the art and use the proceeds to support their operations. While the organization was grateful, they were not set up for the business of selling art. Enter Bainbridge Arts & Crafts.

West Sound Wildlife Shelter receives 50% of proceeds from sales of Dietrich works.

West Sound Wildlife Shelter receives 50% of proceeds from sales of Dietrich works.

Nurtured by the Lonners, an incredibly fruitful partnership was forged between WSWS and BAC, two longstanding local nonprofits whose missions are markedly different but equally worthy. From the walls of our gallery, hundreds of Dietrich’s works have found their way to collectors and institutions around the country, with Bainbridge Arts & Crafts and West Sound Wildlife Shelter benefiting from the sales in equal measure.

With the recent settlement of Martha Dietrich’s estate, we are pleased to present some of the last remaining works of Henry Dietrich’s, some of Martha’s favorites, which she kept on her own walls until her passing.

Bainbridge Arts & Crafts sincerely thanks Tom Lonner and Elizabeth Ward for their enduring gift, and we celebrate the work of our partner, West Sound Wildlife Shelter.

Books for books: BAC’s 14th annual Art Book Drive

BAC Book DriveIt started back in 2004: Bainbridge Arts & Crafts, a nonprofit gallery, received a generous donation of art books. The Bainbridge Public Library—using more art, design and architecture books than any other branch of the Kitsap Regional Library system—was in need of new books for those departments. BAC offered the donated books to gallery browsers in exchange for a donation of their choice, with one hundred percent of the proceeds to be donated to the library for purchase of new art books. The exchange proved a success, raising $4,000.00 that year.

The program has been ongoing ever since, with the help of a generous community which answers the call for book donations at the kickoff of the Art Book Drive every February. This year’s call for donations is on right now. BAC invites anyone to donate books about art, architecture, and design, and they’ll be placed on shelves in the gallery where anyone can purchase the well-loved volumes for a donation of any amount. Selected books and every penny of the proceeds are gifted to Kitsap Regional Library to expand its collection. Since the program’s inception, the book drive has generated over $16,000.00 for the Bainbridge Island branch’s collection of books on art, architecture, and design.

“I can’t say enough about the benefits of this program for our community,” says Bainbridge Island branch manager Rebecca Judd. “Kitsap Regional Library is able to purchase titles we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. Thank you to everyone who has donated books to Bainbridge Arts & Crafts and thank you to BAC for sponsoring this annual Book Drive.”

While donations are encouraged right now to build up the collection, you may bring in your gently-used or unwanted art and design books to Bainbridge Arts & Crafts anytime throughout the year, or browse the shelves and discover something new to add to your collection.

Peninsula Cancer Center: Changing the Treatment Landscape Through Art

Terms like stereotactic radiotherapy, real time brachytherapy, and volumetric modulated arc therapy, are part of everyday parlance for Dr. Berit Madsen and her colleagues. These are among numerous leading-edge radiation tools and therapies that the Peninsula Cancer Center radiation oncology team puts to use every day.

Rebecca Lynn Parker at PCC 2016Yet as important as PCC’s treatment methods are, Berit also believes that the treatment environment plays a significant role in healing. Institutional drab does not promote confidence or hope in a patient undergoing cancer treatment. So at PCC, patients are greeted with warm colors, plenty of natural light, and really good art on the walls.

“Art can be very helpful,” Berit says. “The environment you’re in helps you deal with your emotions, and can inspire you, calm you, and be part of what you think about when you’re going through a bad experience.”

Marianne Partlow at PCC 2016When she co-founded PCC in 2009, having headed up the radiation oncology department at Seattle’s Virginia Mason, Berit partnered with Bainbridge Arts & Crafts through our Art Rental Program. As part of the program BAC art installers make twice-yearly trips to fill PCC’s waiting areas, hallways, and treatment rooms with a hand-picked, rotating collection of original artworks by regional artists.

BAC’s partnership with PCC enables us to put art to work in a healing setting. And it has helped PCC create just the kind of environment Berit sought for her patients when she brought her expertise from Seattle to this side of the water: one that promotes calm, confidence, and trust.

Selene Santucci and Mike Biskup at PCC 2016When the PCC doctors and staff see patients looking at the art, it affords an opportunity to talk about something that isn’t related to their disease – and helps create a vision beyond cancer.

“I see that happening to our patients and family here as they’re sitting in the waiting room,” Berit says. “They focus on the art. It brings them to a better place.”

Learn more

Find out about Peninsula Cancer Center’s treatment options and VIP Service Promise at www.peninsulacancercenter.com.

Could your medical practice or business benefit from an art infusion? Learn more on our Art Rental page.

Photos, top to bottom: Work by Rebecca Lynn Parker, Marianne Partlow, Selene Santucci, and Mike Biskup at Peninsula Cancer Center. Images courtesy of Peninsula Cancer Center.