IN THIS ISSUE:
New Plans at BAM
Rick Collette, Vice President for Lending at First Mutual Bank, is a great golfer, a former Rotarian and a member of the Bellevue Community College Board. With all of that, hes also President of the Bellevue Art Museum (BAM). As most everyone knows, the Museum closed last fall when it ran out of money. Now, Collette is on a speaking tour of the community, telling of the new plans adopted and the Museums boards decision to in October.
Weve been closed for 6-7 months. During this time, we identified three major weaknesses that beset the Museum: our mission, our business plan and our board. Weve spent this interim time addressing each of these weaknesses and feel weve earned the right to reopen.
Collette said there was a huge disconnect between expectations of the public at the opening of the Museum. People were not excited. We raised a lot of money for construction, but not for operations. After 28 years in Bellevue Square, it was a huge leap in operating expenses, a huge leap in financial management to move to the new facility. We werent prepared for the change.
Next, the Museum lost its Executive Director and then took almost a year to hire a new person. But, said Collette, there was no money. We raised some funds in 2002, but not nearly enough to keep going. Our mission was not working in 2003. We lost the second director and there was simply no responsible way to keep operating. We elected to close and start over.
So, on October 1, 2003, the Bellevue Art Museum took the drastic step and shut down. Soon after, Mark Haley of the Brown and Haley chocolate fame in Tacoma joined the team as interim managing director to rebuild the BAM. Our task was to re-engage the community. The arts and business community. During these past several months, we sought consensus. We were constantly asked, 'Why did you leave your legacy? Which was craft and design.' Art craft and design, emphasizing Northwest artists, was what the BAM was all about in its first 28 years. Now, weve created and completed a sustainable and responsible business plan and were ready for the next step.
A core of 14 board members has been meeting each week. An Artistic advisory council has recommended the museum stay on point, stay on mission. The Board development process is underway with new members set to join. A series of meetings with interested community members has heard grievances, taken suggestions and offered encouragement. We have listened to the community and now we need community support, said Collette. We need $2.8M to open for October.
The new BAM hopes to be the craft/design center of the region. Its reopening show will be the "Artful Teapot," organized to tour in 2002. This show has exceeded attendance figures since its opening. The UW Burke Museum and the Pilchuck Glass School will have exhibition space in the new museum.
Collette also said, There will be no more school. We have honed our mission and have responded to consensus. The new museum will be loaded with art. The Café will be a focal point for gathering and well be enlarging the retail section.
Collette laid the BAMs problems to "mission drift." Asked about programs for kids, he responded that they are a very important part of our mission. We have a vibrant docent community and well continue our programs in the schools. Therell be space for hands-on creativity for kids on the third floor.
The Museums president said they are considering a new exterior paint job. And, a sign on building telling community what it is. He also added that with the emergence of a new and stronger board, their duties will be to be involved in heavy fundraising. That was not part of the plan when the new museum opened, but an active and involved board is what we need for success. People are now on the same page and our future looks bright.
For his presentation, Rick Collette was awarded a certificate, noting that the BBRC has donated a book to a needy child in the Bellevue area. Thanks to Steve Goldfarb for his introduction.
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