“It’s only an intermission,” read the sign in front of Bainbridge Performing Arts (BPA) when COVID-19 hit Bainbridge Island. When many of us were forced to put our lives on hold, these words may have brought a sense of peace—whatever we were going through, it was only temporary. Even though it has slowly become clear that the COVID pandemic is going to be a protracted crisis, our local nonprofits have found creative ways to keep our bodies, minds, and hearts alive.
Our arts, music, and culture nonprofits give us a path to explore our complex history, deep traditions, and creative talents. In the pre-COVID era, BPA offered live performances, from theater and symphony to improv and dance for everyone—providing free tickets for those who may need them, no questions asked. Since they will not be able to resume their work until Phase 4, they have found other ways to keep the public engaged through the “COVID Monologues” available online and now their Bainbridge Pod Accomplice.
Some local museums, such as the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (BIHM), have recently opened their doors to the public with limited schedules. Walking into the doors and exploring the exhibits offers a feeling of normalcy, even though staff and visitors are wearing masks and keeping their distance. At BIHM, visitors can learn about the island’s complex and deep history, from the Japanese American Exclusion during WWII to the invention of Pickleball. Their new website, launched this past spring, hosts a number of virtual offerings for those who may feel more comfortable exploring from their own homes. Other frequently visited museums have found COVID-friendly ways to achieve their missions—for example, the Kids Discovery Museum continues to promote experiential learning through a new preschool.
The Indipino Community of Bainbridge Island and Vicinity celebrates the traditions and cultural practices of Indigenous cultures and preserves the integrity of mixed heritage on the island through events, exhibits, and most recently the production of a documentary called Honor Thy Mother. The documentary is focused on Indipinos, or the descendants of Indigenous mothers and Filipino immigrant fathers. They will tell their stories through the voices of their adult children—many of whom still live on Bainbridge Island—and will share their lives, losses, and legacies. When referring to one of their events, a participant said, “The Indipino Community also opened their arms to welcome community members to participate with them in a drum-making workshop with hereditary chief… of the Squamish Nation. We collaboratively and reverently created drums together and then sat in a circle sharing our stories and experiences. I feel grateful to have been included. I feel grateful for the ways in which the Indipino Community embraces the community.”
Despite the critical role these organizations play in shaping the culture of our island, arts and culture nonprofits can suffer significant financial setbacks during a crisis. A recent Washington Post article refers to a Deloitte report that said early estimates of nonprofits that won’t survive the pandemic range from 10 percent to 40 percent nationwide. The article continues to say that funders are now so focused on helping families eat and pay the rent that arts and education programs often fall by the wayside. BCF has also conducted several surveys since COVID began. Many participants emphasized that essential needs are clearly a priority in times of crisis, but that it’s possible our arts and culture nonprofits could fall behind. One respondent to the survey expressed that understandably “there will be a focus on essential services up first,” but that it was inevitable that “education programs like ours might fall through the cracks.”
On their website, Executive Director of BPA Dominique Cantwell keeps up their positive messaging. She says, “While we don’t know what the coronavirus has in store for all of us this fall and winter, we’re delighted to be able to plan for something you can count on… Whether we’re six feet, six miles, or six continents apart, islanders can still find a way to be together.”
Bainbridge Community Foundation supports our local nonprofits by providing analyses of community needs, awarding grants to meet those needs, connecting donors to nonprofits, and encouraging collaboration. BCF also awards grants through its Community Response Fund to support our nonprofits during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more by signing up for Bainbridge Community Foundation’s newsletter by emailing [email protected], visiting our website at www.BainbridgeCF.org, or following us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or #BainbridgeTogether).
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Click on the links below to read about our nonprofits highlighted every week:
To learn more about our local nonprofits that enrich our lives through arts, music, and culture, click on the links below. If you would like to donate, you can give directly on their website or go through the One Call for All directory.
Arts & Humanities Bainbridge: Arts & Humanities Bainbridge serves the island’s creative community by forging links between community members, arts organizations and artists. They do this by enhancing student engagement by placing local teaching artists in public school classrooms infusing art into the core curriculum, collaborating with local artists to bring art to public spaces, and promoting the island’s arts and cultural offerings through a community cultural website, Currents Online.
Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN): BARN’s mission is to build and support an open, intergenerational community of artisans and makers who are dedicated to learning, teaching, sharing, and inspiring one another with creativity, craftsmanship and community service. Their goal is to create a true community center, using craft as a magnet to bring together people who would not normally know one another or have opportunities to collaborate.
Bainbridge Chorale: Bainbridge Chorale enriches and inspires our singers, audiences and community by sharing the transcendent power of choral music. Over the years, the organization has expanded its scope to include two youth choral programs, teaching kids of all ability levels to love and learn singing in a choir community.
Bainbridge Island Historical Museum: BIHM’s mission is to reserve and share the stories of Bainbridge Island to promote a greater understanding of our community and the world in which we live. They aim to spark curiosity and inspire people to connect, explore different perspectives, reflect, and celebrate the diverse stories of our community.
Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District: For 50 years the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District has served the community through its stewardship of parks, and by providing recreational and cultural programs to islanders of all ages.
Bainbridge Performing Arts: Bainbridge Performing Arts promotes appreciation of and participation in the performing arts to build, educate and inspire our vibrant, creative community. What began in 1956 as the only community organization to combine theatre, dance and music on Bainbridge Island thrives still today. BPA has recently launched a new, weekly podcast which includes new performances of classic radio plays by Frank Buxton, adaptations of beloved works like Wind in the Willows by Miranda Feldtman, music from Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra and so much more, all performed by members of your creative community.
Bloedel Reserve: Bloedel’s mission is to enrich people’s lives through a premier public garden of natural and designed Pacific Northwest landscapes. Bloedel has a Creative Residency program where artists in residence spend time in Bloedel focusing on visual arts, performing arts, poetry, prose fiction and nonfiction, and research inspired by nature.
Boys & Girls Club of Bainbridge Island: Bainbridge Island Boys & Girls Club’s (BI-BGC) mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BI-BGC has expanded operating hours to provide full-day programming to families in need of childcare, and they will continue to do so for as long as schools remain closed.
Indipino Community of Bainbridge Island and Vicinity: As an educational organization, their goal is to recognize where in our school systems, libraries and museums historical voids or misrepresentations exist. They hope to fill these voids by offering classroom and community presentations, cultural events and activities, artistic performances, historical photo exhibits and film production. Through collaborative projects, events and activities, they aim to build positive working relationships between island organizations and educational institutions.
Kids Discovery Museum: The mission of the Kids Discovery Museum (KiDiMu) is to spark children’s curiosity through play and experiential learning. KiDiMu has recently launched STEM subscription boxes, Camp at Home boxes, and a new preschool ages 3.5 – 5.5 for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Kitsap Regional Library Foundation: The Kitsap Regional Library Foundation (KRLF) proudly supports our community by facilitating charitable gifts that advance the library’s mission. Public library systems like Kitsap Regional Library (KRL) play an essential role in providing safe, accessible, and 100% free educational resources and are supported by your tax dollars. KRL works in partnership with Bainbridge Public Library (BPL), a nonprofit that owns, operates, and maintains our library building and grounds solely through the direct support of its generous donors. KRL provides the staff, books, and library resources for BPL.
Music Community Resources: Music Community Resources values the importance of live music in our culture and works to preserve and nurture the cultural tradition of live music events. This is accomplished by expanding performance opportunities for musicians, community education through audience experience, teaching the etiquette of live performance to young musicians, organizing benefit concerts, bringing live music to nursing homes, hospitals, and shelters, and similar activities promoting the performance of music.
Vitalize Kitsap (formerly Island Time Activities): Vitalize Kitsap’s mission is to empower people with intellectual disabilities to lead lives of meaning and self-determination. They believe everyone deserves dignity, respect, and community inclusion. People with disabilities are fully equal human beings with a full range of emotions, a full human spirit, and hopes and dreams of their own.
 “Nonprofits in trouble: One-third of organizations may not survive pandemic, recession” The Washington Post, August 3, <https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/non-profits-coronavirus-fail/2020/08/02/ef486414-d371-11ea-9038-af089b63ac21_story.html>