Join the Bainbridge Public Library for the March 2022 First Friday Art Walk, featuring photographer Joel Sackett

Bainbridge Public LibraryThe Bainbridge Public Library is dedicated to spreading the joy of reading and the discovery of ideas with not just our local community, but with visitors from near and afar. In addition, the library is fortunate to house beautiful local works of art both inside and outside the building. Each month the library celebrates a local artist (or artists) with an exhibit, which opens monthly on the Island’s First Friday Art Walk tour, and includes a reception hosted by the featured artist.

The Bainbridge Public Library is proud to present an exhibit by photographer Joel Sackett

 Joel will host a “meet and greet” from 5pm-7pm on Friday, March 4th to open his new exhibit, “Vanishing Bainbridge” for First Friday Art Walk

After a decade working as a self-employed photographer in Japan, Joel Sackett landed on Bainbridge Island with his wife Michiko and their two children, Daniel and Yuri in 1990. For the past 30 years, Joel has enmeshed himself in all things Bainbridge, documenting the island’s past and present through photography and stories told by local islanders. Many of the stories he’s collected vary in perspective from one storyteller to another.

Picker cabin on Day Road, Bainbridge Island photograph by Joel SackettIn 2019, Joel began work on his newest project, Vanishing Bainbridge, which explores the history of the island through the built environment. The exhibit is a photographic collection of mostly older homes that are either currently in use as residential properties, repurposed or in disrepair. All of the buildings tell a story on their own and through conversations with local islanders. The project was supported in part through a grant from the Bainbridge Community Foundation, and curatorial support from the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.

As Joel said, “For the past 30 years, since calling Bainbridge Island my new home, I’ve been trying to grow roots.  Towards this, I’ve been photographing and collecting words from various perspectives of Island life, always culminating in presentations like this one.”

Vanishing Bainbridge photograph by Joel SackettAlthough Joel describes many of these historic buildings as having minor histories, the lives that occupied them and the stories surrounding them are often forgotten. “Some (stories) might have been passed down to relatives or heard by neighbors, but they often change by omissions, embellishments, and the vagaries of memory. There are many blank spaces to fill in, an invitation to use one’s imagination and curiosity to see Bainbridge Island through the lens of past lives and the built environment they inhabited.”

Not long after Joel and his family moved to Bainbridge, he began photographing the island. Every year for about a decade after, he did a yearly exhibit focusing on different aspects of the community, as he explained, “I wanted to locate myself in my new home by exploring the island’s past and present.”

Vanishing Bainbridge photograph by Joel SackettIn addition to Joel’s editorial assignments, commercial work and portrait commissions, he’s working on his next project, a book called, “Dave’s Brain Box”, about Dave Ullin, who had been a liveaboard in Eagle Harbor and local activist, teacher, and thinker.

Some of Joel’s other works and exhibits include; “Air, Water, Soil: Local Farmers on a Changing Environment” at BPA Gallery and sponsored by Sustainable Bainbridge with a Bainbridge Community Foundation Grant (2016). A weekly series in the Bainbridge Review called “Close to Home” (2006-08), which was exhibited in its entirety at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum in 2008. “An Island in Time”, a book about Bainbridge Island comprised of portraits and interviews (2005).

Vanishing Bainbridge photograph by Joel SackettMuch of Joel’s work was supported in part through grants and sponsorships via Arts & Humanities Bainbridge, the Island Treasure Award in The Arts, the Washington Commission for the Humanities, and various non-profit organizations, businesses, and individual sponsors.

Vanishing Bainbridge can be viewed during the month of March in the library meeting room and on the library website,

To view a YouTube conversation and slide presentation between Joel and Katy Curtis (Bainbridge Island Historical Museum), click here.

Both Joel and BPL would like to thank Bainbridge Island Historical Museum and the Senior Center for their assistance and support.

You can connect with Joel and his work via his Facebook page.

As always, thank you for supporting your Bainbridge Public Library and local artists. If you have interest in exhibiting your work, feel free to contact Linda Meier, art coordinator, at

***Library content and images provided by Linda Meier, Bainbridge Public Library

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