With several cultural districts throughout Whatcom County, be captivated by fresh ideas and styles of artistic expression while strolling through a local gallery.
Ranked second in the nation for arts businesses per capita, Bellingham and Whatcom County, WA, shine with arts and heritage activities. A combination of nationally touring and locally produced museum exhibits, gallery tours, theater productions, symphony performances, comedy shows, science and history exhibits provide an active and diverse calendar of events throughout the year.
Bellinghamâ€™s downtown Cultural Arts District includes the Whatcom Museumâ€™s state-of-the-art Lightcatcher building and Family Interactive Gallery; Allied Arts of Whatcom County, First Friday Art Walks; the historic Mount Baker Theatre showcasing live performing arts and home to the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra; the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention; Mindport Exhibits; the Bellingham Railway Museum; the Pickford Film Center dedicated to independent films; and the Upfront Theater highlighting live improve comedy shows.
On the south side of Bellingham Bay, the historic Fairhaven District is also home to numerous art galleries featuring pottery, woodworking, glass, and painting, as well as a unique Pharmacy Museum.
One of the Top 10 outdoor sculpture collections in the nation resides at Western Washington University in Bellingham, with 29 pieces located throughout the campus by renown artists such as Bruce Nauman, Tom Otterness, Isamu Noguchi, Alice Aycock, Beverly Pepper, Robert Maki and many others. Bellinghamâ€™s Big Rock Sculpture Garden, a 2.5 acre city park, also features more than 35 permanent works by distinguished international and local artists.
Dozens of visual artists county-wide participate in the Whatcom Artists Studio Tour each October, opening their homes and galleries to visitors.
History comes alive throughout the county at numerous venues including the Peace Arch State Park in Blaine, the Lynden Pioneer Museum, Hovander Park and Pioneer Park in Ferndale, and Semiahmoo Park Maritime Museum. Additional history-centered activities in Bellingham include the Pickett House, Jerns Military History Museum, and the Bellingham International Maritime Museum.
When you’re ready to stretch your legs, a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Bellingham is available in desktop, mobile and printed version.
Museums & Galleries Links & Resources
1000 Harris, Bellingham
Artwood is a cooperatively owned showplace and retail source for the finest in contemporary woodworking, providing custom design services, cabinetry, fine furniture, and many decorative accessories. Artwood also carries a variety of consigned work by other local artists. Come in and experience the beauty of wood.
Bellingham Railway Museum
1320 Commercial Avenue, Bellingham
Features 500 sq ft large scale toy train layout, interactive O Gauge layout, collections of antique toy trains, railroad history and more.
Creative Life Adventures NW
1893 Kelly Rd, Bellingham
Part studio, Fine Art Gallery, and country manor, step into a world of aesthetic pleasures. Abstract and contemporary artworks, artist workshops, and more, discover art as experience, and see the creative process at work. By appointment only â€“ call to schedule.
Outdoor Sculpture Collection
516 High Street, Bellingham
Extending from the Western Gallery's plaza and integrated with other campus buildings, quadrangles, lawns, and playing fields is Western's Outdoor Sculpture Collection. The Western Gallery is in the Fine Arts Complex, centrally located on campus and across from Carver Gym.
Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
1312 Bay Street, Bellingham
The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention offers an exciting and educational experience for audiences of all ages. Compelling, interactive exhibits spanning four centuries of scientific achievement and cultural heritage are featured in a world-class collection of unique objects. The Spark Museum displays the inventions and innovations that changed the course of human history.
Old Main 490, Bellingham
The Western Gallery provides diverse experiences in the visual arts for its constituencies, encompassing the University community and region while providing a point of reference to the national and international art scene.
Western Washington University
516 High Street, Bellingham
For 13 years in a row, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Western Washington University as the best regional public university in the Pacific Northwest, and #2 in the western United States.
Whatcom Artists' Studio Tour
PO Box 5921, Bellingham
Whatcom County artists open their studios to the public during the 20th annual Whatcom Studio Artist Tour the first two weekends of October. Artwork is for sale and artists are available (some demonstrating) to meet with visitors. Tour includes clay, glass, handmade books, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and woodworking. This self-guided tour is free.
121 Prospect Street, Bellingham
The Whatcom Museum, located in the heart of downtown Bellingham's cultural district, offers a rich variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature and Northwest history. The campus features two buildings with public hours; Old City Hall and the Lightcatcher.
Whatcom Museum - Lightcatcher
250 Flora Street, Bellingham
THE LIGHTCATCHER is designed by Olson Kundig Architectsâ€™ founding partner, Jim Olson. The building is named for its focal point and most innovative feature â€” a spectacular, translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long, that captures the Northwestâ€™s most precious natural resource: sunlight. The 42,000-square-foot-building integrates natural materials native to the region and is the first museum in Washington designed and registered to LEED Silver-Level specifications.
Bellingham International Maritime Museum
800 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham
Big Rock Garden Park
2900 Sylvan Street, Bellingham
Cement Painted Leaves by Terrie May
127 W. Kellogg Rd, Bellingham
Fairhaven Pharmacy Museum
1115 Harris Avenue, Bellingham
International Fine Art Acquisitions
8694 Great Horned Owl Lane, Blaine
Jadyn Welch Photography
3958 Byron Avenue Apt. 106, Bellingham
711 3rd Street, Blaine
Pickett House, The
910 Bancroft Street, Bellingham
Semiahmoo Park Maritime Museum
9261 Semiahmoo Parkway, Blaine
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