Coiled feather basket; Central California (possibly Yokuts), c. 1890. Sumac, devil’s claw, wool, quail feathers, 6 x 8 x 8 in. Lent by Lois Russell. Courtesy of the University of Missouri.

February 3 – May 6, 2018, Lightcatcher

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America chronicles a history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its presence within the contemporary fine art world. Baskets convey meaning through the artists’ selection of materials; the techniques they use; and the colors, designs, patterns, and textures they employ.

Historical baskets were rooted in local landscapes and shaped by cultural traditions. The rise of the industrial revolution and mass production at the end of the nineteenth century led basket makers to create works for new audiences and markets, including tourists, collectors and fine art museums. Today the story continues. Some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions practiced for centuries. Others combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Still others challenge viewers’ expectations by experimenting with form, materials, and scale. Divided into five sections—Cultural Origins, New Basketry, Living Traditions, Basket as Vessel, and Beyond the Basket—this exhibition of approximately 95 objects has two primary goals: to model how to look at, talk about, and analyze baskets aesthetically, critically and historically; and to contextualize American basketry within art and craft history specifically and American culture generally.

This traveling exhibition is sponsored by the Northwest Basket Weavers, Vi Phillips Guild, and organized by the National Basketry Organization in partnership with the University of Missouri. For more information visit Additional support is provided by the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Museum Advocates.








February 10 – May 6, 2018, Lightcatcher

This exhibit features rarely seen items from the vaults of the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History. Each of the pieces in this exhibit demonstrates the skill and ingenuity of various artists in transforming simple materials into striking treasures. Originally curated by Cynthia Duval, who was then Chief Curator of the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, this exhibit creates a sense of awe at the vision required to take the rough to polished, the mundane to exceptional, and the simple to complex.

Whether it is a faceted quartz crystal egg, a gold sardine can, a gem-encrusted ivory camel, or a jeweled mailbox, each of these creations irresistibly attracts our attention and appeals to our imagination, encouraging us to think about why and how each piece was made. Let these rarely seen objects inspire you as you explore this exhibit.

Read about artist Sidney Mobell in this Smithsonian article.


May 19 – August 19, 2018, Lightcatcher

Organized by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in partnership with the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, the exhibition chronicles the history of Crow’s Shadow over the past twenty-five years as it emerged as an important native printmaking atelier in Pendleton, Oregon. The exhibition features approximately 60 prints drawn from the Crow’s Shadow Print Archive and will focus on themes of landscape, abstraction, narrative, portraiture, social critique, and humor. Included in the exhibition will be work by native and non-native artists who have worked at Crow’s Shadow, including Rick Bartow, Pat Boas, Joe Feddersen, Edgar Heap of Birds, James Lavadour, Truman Lowe, Lillian Pitt, Wendy Star, Storm Tharp, and Marie Watt, among others.