It was a bit hot and definitely smoke filled, but islanders and visitors alike turned out to celebrate the launch of the Bainbridge Creative District (BCD) at the Bridge Festival at Waterfront Park and enjoy the beautiful handcrafted quilts at the Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild Fall Festival on Winslow Green.
I headed over to the Winslow Green to check out the Tenth Annual Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild Fall Festival. These incredible quilts filled the Green and drew a large and continuous crowd of viewers. They received an amazing number of entries this year, filling all available hanging space at the Green. The “Viewer’s Choice” award was presented to Connie Everett “Coming to Seattle”, Terry Winer “Reading in Bed”, and Ann Trujillo “365 Challenge”.
It was great meeting Annette Roth, Community Development Manager/Community Relations for the Washington State Arts Commission. She explained that her primary role is to assist communities with the launch of their creative districts. As she noted, Bainbridge Island spent a great deal of time and energy working on their creative district certification and she was very happy to be invited and attend the official launch.
Inez Maubane Jones, Executive Director of Arts & Humanities Bainbridge (AHB) and co-chair of the Bainbridge Creative District said, “This is our inaugural bridge festival, we are so thrilled to have the community come out and experience what the BCD is…this is a game changer for the island, we are being intentional in supporting art, artists and art facilities and can’t wait to see how far we can go.”
Stefan Goldby, President and CEO of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce explained that the BCD process was already underway when he took his position at the Chamber, “I’m super excited to be part of this,” he said, “when they asked me to help marry art and commerce it seemed like a no-brainer.” Stefan continued to explain that it has been 18 months of application and conversation and partnership with several community organizations, including the Downtown Association, the Lodging Association, and many different art organizations, and of course, the leadership of Arts & Humanities Bainbridge. Having multiple co-chairs was really important he noted, because it brought the business community and the creative community together in support of each other.
The BCD connects artists who would like to make art their profession with resources, direction and support. However, the district isn’t just about art, it’s about all the things Bainbridge encompasses, including horticulture, viticulture and “everything you can think of where creativity is expressed, and if it’s some kind of commercial enterprise as well, even better but art for art’s sake is great too,” Stefan said.
Merilee Mostov, Director of Exhibits and Engagements with the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum said, “I’m so proud and honored to be part of the BCD because creativity and imagination plays a really critical role…essential role in the study of the past and the study of history.”
Debbie McLeod, member of the Board of Directors for Bainbridge Performing Arts said, “We’re so excited to invite the community not only to our programming this year, but to the completion of the renovation of our building in October 2023.” To read more about BPA’s new Buxton Center, click here.
Ken Matsudaira, Director of Cultural and Community Programs at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art noted that their partnership with the BCD was “awesome”, and they’re excited to enhance the experience of people coming to the island (and living on it), as he said, “it’s a great way to discover our art community.”
Akuyea Karen Vargas was presented with the Washington State Art Commission Luminary Award by Annette Roth and gave a wonderful acceptance speech, speaking for several minutes after receiving her award. She thanked the community and AHB for all their support and the opportunities afforded for the black and multi-cultural community. To learn more about the award, click here.
Several performers were on hand, such as the UV Performing Arts, classical Indian dancing, Bainbridge Dance Center, Beat poetry readings by the Kitsap Black Student Union, international singer Stephanie Reese, the Bainbridge High School Marching Band, rapper Mackrayz and many more. Soul musician David A. Tobin, flew in from Germany to headline the event, and regional musical guests included the Jenny Davis Jazz Quintet, country and blues musicians Betsy and the Boys, and tequila funk band Reposado. Seattle-based vibe creator Deejay Hershe will DJ as well.
There was interactive kids’ activities, such as a jam board all-day mural project, provided by Scrappy Art Lab and KiDiMu.
It was also wonderful to meet and connect with many in the community, such as Councilwomen, Leslie Schneider and Brenda Fantroy-Johnson, Bainbridge Review reporter, Nancy Treder, Sales and Marketing Director for Bainbridge Island Lodging Association (BILA), Andrea Addington, and Kristin L. Tollefson, Director of Education & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advancement at BIMA, as well as so many others.
*Images provided by Margaret Millmore and Andrea Addington and Kathy Dwyer
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