Arts and Entertainment

BAM event raises record funds for exhibitions, educational programs

Bellevue Arts Museum's Artful Evening set raised a record $600,000 this year to support exhibitions and educational programs and to keep BAM both accessible and affordable.

The July 22 event brought together more than 400 arts aficionados, political officials and community members to the museum's annual fundraiser. The funds were raised through ticket sales and sponsorships as well as from the silent and live auctions.

BAM officials credit the event's success to contributions of its patrons and business supporters, many of whom have not only renewed, but also increased their commitment to BAM.

"We are immensely grateful for the tremendous dedication and trust the community has demonstrated in the museum, despite the challenging economic times," said Susan Edelheit, President of the Board of Trustees.

Added Mark W. Crawford, Executive Director/CEO: "The community made a clear statement that they believe in the museum's importance as a vibrant artistic center and a crucial part of the social fabric of Bellevue, the greater Eastside and the Puget Sound region."

BAM has increased both attendance and income generated through its annual fundraiser over the past few years. In 2007 the event welcomed 320 attendees and grossed $411,000; in 2008 it grew to 350 attendees and $530,000.

Today, Artful Evening is the largest annual fundraising activity to benefit museum programs.

"Thanks to the generosity of our patrons, we are able to bring some of the finest craft and design artists of our region and nationwide to this community," said Michael Monroe, Director of Curatorial Affairs. "We are able to expand our educational and community programs and we can be more effective in reaching out to underserved communities. It takes all of us to make it happen."

The evening began with a reception at the museum with a silent auction that featured over 90 art items, all of which had been donated by BAM artsfair artists. Following the reception, guests were led down a red carpet for a dinner at The Westin Bellevue and a live auction.

The festivities also included the presentation of the 2009 Carol Duke Artist Awards of Excellence sponsored by Tiffany & Co. Ten award winners, chosen by this year's BAM artsfair jurors, were given a $1,000 prize each in memory of Carol Duke, one of the founders of the original fair.

The evening was emceed by Susan Hutchison, former KIRO-TV news anchor and now Executive Director of the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences. Nationally recognized auctioneer Kip Toner officiated the live auction.

Long-term BAM supporters and community leaders Rick and Bonnie Collette were this year's honorees in recognition of their outstanding leadership and dedication to Bellevue Arts Museum. The event was sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP; GLY Construction and Tiffany & Co.

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