The Bellevue Arts Museum, known as the BAM, explores arts, crafts and design. Exhibits often feature glasswork,…More woodwork, sculpture, clay, textiles and installations created by contemporary artists and designers. At any time, the museum could have exhibits featuring cutting edge designs, sculpture, clay, glass art, furniture, jewelry, clothing or shoes or textiles.
The museum hosts classes and lectures and has a free first Friday every month. Children and teenagers can participate through a variety of age-appropriate classes and the Teen Arts Council, which helps design programs for teens. The museum is also available for rent as a venue for events.
The museum is connected to the Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Association, which has organized the Bellevue artsfair at Bellevue Square every summer for more than 60 years.
The museum originally opened in 2000 as the Bellevue Art Museum. The building was designed by architect Steven Holl and features an exterior of glass and textured concrete and an outdoor space called "Court of Light."
In 2003, the museum closed because of a lack of funds. After a fundraising effort and a shift in focus from fine art to design and craft, the museum reopened in 2005, along with a change of name to the Bellevue Arts Museum to reflect the new mission.
2010 was the first year of the BAM Biennial, a juried exhibition series, connected to a $5,000 prize. More than 30 Pacific Northwest artists participated in the show. The Biennial is scheduled for every other year. The next one is scheduled for 2012.