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Whatcom Museum awarded grant for climate change exhibition

Pomereu Fissure

Show becoming a catalyst for community-wide participation

The Whatcom Museum has been awarded a $35,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in support of its 2013 exhibition on art and climate change, Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art 1775-2012. The exhibition has also drawn significant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as individual contributions.

Small museum – big ambitions

These multiple levels of support speak to the mission of the museum, which aims to inspire audiences from Bellingham to Amsterdam with the Vanishing Ice exhibition. The show opens in the Museum’s Lightcatcher building November 2, 2013.

“The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation grant both validates and enables the ideas embodied in Vanishing Ice. It signals that we’re serious about mounting a show that has both local relevance and global reach,” said Executive Director Patricia Leach.

Vanishing Ice is among the most ambitious exhibitions that the Whatcom Museum has undertaken. Offering an unprecedented look at the rich artistic legacy of the planet’s frozen frontiers now threatened by climate change, the exhibition spans more than 200 years with 70 works of art representing 12 nations and featuring both poles as well as alpine terrain worldwide.

Underlines Bellingham’s values as sustainable city

"Vanishing Ice is an exciting exhibition not just for the museum, but for the city,” said Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville. “I'm happy to see that the show is becoming a catalyst for community-wide participation. It's a testament to Bellingham's growing status as a model of sustainable living.”

One aim of the exhibition is to help visitors begin to appreciate how strongly embedded these icy regions — Pacific Northwest included — are in our collective consciousness, says Curator of Art, Barbara Matilsky. Interweaving science, history, and art, and highlighting their interrelationships, the exhibition “encourages audiences to value the preservation of alpine and polar environments for the wellbeing of both nature and culture,” said Matilsky.

Vanishing Ice also strengthens the museum’s vision of becoming a nexus for constructive and meaningful public dialogues about art, nature, and history.

Open hanging to precede Vanishing Ice

As a companion to Vanishing Ice, the Museum will hold its second “open hanging” in which artists are invited to submit artwork on a particular theme. “Nature in the Balance: Artists Interpreting Climate Change” is the subject for the 2013 show, which opens next summer. All entries that meet the criteria are exhibited; the show is not juried. More information about the Nature in Balance open hanging.

More Information


Published: Dec 9, 2012

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