BELLEVUE, WA.- This last Saturday (July 21, 2012), Bellevue Arts Museum set yet another record. The Museum, known for its unique focus on art, craft and design, raised over $1 million at its annual fundraising gala, Artful Evening. "This is more than a 45% increase over last year and almost double what we raised two years ago," says Managing Director Larry Wright. "We're immensely grateful for the community's support."
Over the years, BAM has exponentially increased support through its annual fundraiser, affirming the Museum's role as a vibrant cultural institution with a growing national reputation. In 2006, just a year after BAM expanded its mission to include craft and design, the event (then called Patron Party) raised less than $80,000. In 2011 over $685,000 was raised, a then all-time record, which is once again exceeded by this year's outstanding result.
"Seeing the strong commitment of our community is an inspiration to all of us at BAM," says Stefano Catalani, Director of Curatorial Affairs/Artistic Director and co-leader of the Museum. "BAM's trajectory at the forefront of art, craft and design has been truly remarkable. I couldn't be more excited about the future." Anne Kilcup, President of the Board of Trustees, adds: "We continue to gain momentum. BAM is becoming known for its unique exhibitions and programs, not just regionally but all over the U.S. and even abroad. We cannot thank our community enough for their participation, enthusiasm and support."
Prior to Artful Evening, BAM announced an exciting, unprecedented challenge match during the Raise-the-Paddle portion of the evening. The Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation pledged to double all donations received by July 27th with no upper limit and regardless of whether or not people attended the event. Generous matching of $100,000 total was also provided by long-term art supporters Jane & David Davis, Kemper & Betty Freeman, Artful Evening Honorary Co-Chairs Susan & Lonnie Edelheit and Honorees Joyce & John Price. The result was an astounding $534,000 in direct contributions to BAM, the highest amount to date, with new donations still coming in at the time of this press release.
The sold-out event kicked off with a Curator Tour of the auction art led by Catalani and Curator Nora Atkinson. At the following champagne reception guests had the opportunity to bid on over 100 unique art objects, many of which were donated by this year's talented BAM ARTSfair artists. The festivities continued at The Westin Bellevue with a delicious dinner, program and live auction featuring works and experiences by celebrated artists such as Dale Chihuly, Etsuko Ichikawa, Sabrina Knowles & Jenny Pohlman, Lino Tagliapietra, Cappy Thompson & Dick Weiss and many more. Nationally recognized auctioneer Kip Toner officiated the auction. Guests included a mix of arts patrons, business and community leaders from both the Eastside and Seattle as well as many new friends, including Frank & Charlene Blethen (The Seattle Times), Gary & Wendy Kaplan (Virginia Mason), Becky Benaroya, Sherry & Larry Benaroya and family, and Bellevue Mayor Conrad Lee and wife Winnie, among others.