Getting Back to Business Bainbridge Island Style (Part 6) – Arts & Humanities Bainbridge and BARN (Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network)

It’s been a long tough road over the last few months, and although we’re not out of the woods just yet, we’re resilient, and slowly—under County and State re-opening guidelines—we’re opening our doors again to the public. Through this series, I’m excited to share the stories of our Island businesses—what they’ve been doing over the last few months and what they have planned going forward (please note: I’ll be featuring at least two businesses per article).

Per state health order 20-03, a facial covering must be worn in both indoor and outdoor public spaces (when you’re within six feet of people outside your household) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe and our businesses open.


Arts & Humanities Bainbridge was officially created in March of 1986, known then as the Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council (BIAHC) was officially created. In 2014, BIAHC was renamed Arts & Humanities Bainbridge (AHB).

Since AHB’s inception more than 30 years ago, they’ve achieved enormous success in promoting the island’s artistic community. The ensuing decades saw the creation of the 1% for Public Art program and several programs and events designed to educate, promote, and enhance our vibrant artistic community and expand the interest of the community in the arts.

Over the years, Bainbridge Island’s artistic landscape has expanded and diversified. The cultural sector is made up of many more organizations today than it was in 1986. In order to continue to best serve the community, AHB has evolved as well. In 2018, the organization adopted a new mission statement: We connect you to the abundance of creativity in our community, to empower and inspire.

In addition, the organization refocused its energy toward activities that forge links between community members, arts organizations, and artists. In the summer of 2019, AHB debuted a new community cultural platform, Currents Online which was created on the legacy of their Currents Magazine and promises to invigorate the arts and humanities on Bainbridge Island.

Currents Online is essentially your one-stop for all things “arts” in our community, such as classes and workshops, community events and festivals, resources (Covid-19 support for artists, collaborations, grants, internships, jobs and auditions, and much more), arts education, and up-to-date “what’s happening” in the artistic community. In their “online & streaming” tab, you’ll find classes and courses varying from Virtual Motherhood Sisterhood, Winslow Art Center Online Courses, Art21, Coaching for Pandemic Parenting through BYS, BARN classes, just to name a few.

AHB is located at :221 Winslow Way West, Suite 201, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, phone:(206) 842-7901, email:

BARN (Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network) originated in 2012, when a few local artisans and craftsmen wanted to build a non-profit organization to practice and teach their respective crafts in a hands-on environment. They rented a 2,500 square foot facility and began to plan out what they wanted and needed this organization to look like. A community fundraising campaign, fittingly named the “BARNraising,” began, and thanks to the generosity of more than 500 private donors, they raised $8.5 million, and officially opened their doors in 2017. Today, the 25,000 square-foot building houses ten studios, a Great Room for large events, a commercial kitchen and a Common area where participants can relax and share ideas. Each studio offers classes for beginners or those wishing to expand their existing discipline(s) and technique(s).  In March of 2019, I wrote an extensive article about what BARN is doing, click here if you’re interested in learning more.

During the lockdown, BARN shifted gears to focus on supporting our community. The Kitchen team has cooked more than 200 free meals every week, given away every Friday at BARN or delivered by their partners, Island Volunteer Caregivers and Helpline House.

In the Electronic and Technical Arts studio, they are making shields and PPE connector parts, while the Fiber Arts Mask Makers have sewn more than 5,000 masks with the assistance of the Metal Fabrication studio, who have created over 8,000 metal nose strips. The masks are being donated throughout the community in partnership with Bainbridge Prepares and COBI.

The BARN Woodworkers were busy too, building special food distribution bins for Helpline House.

BARN is also offering a wonderful selection of online classes and open studios, where people can learn to cook; code using Scratch, Rhino3D, and VCarve Pro; make bentwood rings; or decoratively mend fabric, and much more—all from the comfort and convenience of your home! To learn more about their online classes, click here.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Bainbridge Community Foundation, BARN is adding new equipment in order to offer “hybrid” classes as they start to re-open. This will give students the option of participating in person or online (they’ll offer the same classes in both formats), and they’ll continue to add to their selection of existing online classes.

Once Phase 3 is in place, BARN will open their doors to the public again with special safety protocols in place. Handwashing stations at the entrance and masks and distancing at all times in the building. Metal Fabrication members, Bob Mathisrud and Maggie McVey, crafted a “Mask Tree” sculpture that is in the BARN foyer and is stocked with hand-sewn masks offered free to anyone entering BARN. Every studio has created additional guidelines to meet their specific safety needs. This includes limiting the number of people who can be in a studio at one time.

BARN has also extended existing membership for four months, at no charge, to cover the time the facility has been closed.

BARN is located at 8890 Three Tree Lane NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, phone: (206) 842-4475

*If you’re an island business and would like to share your story, please contact me via the “contact” link in this blog.

*Images provided by and used with permission from AHB and BARN

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