Artful Evening raises $685,000 for Bellevue Arts Museum | Rose Dennis | In Good Company

Honorary co-chairs Angela and Carl Sutter. - Courtesy Photo
Honorary co-chairs Angela and Carl Sutter.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

More than 400 patrons attended Artful Evening benefiting the Bellevue Arts Museum on July 27 Wednesday night, raising over $685,000. The event has grown to be BAM’s largest, single fundraising activity.

Roughly two-thirds of the Museum’s annual budget comes from contributed income, about one-third of which is brought in through Artful Evening. Honorary co-chairs were Angela and Carl Sutter, who appreciate the arts and understand firsthand the role that museums play in the quality of life in a community. Angela became a BAM trustee in 1999.

This year's event took place inside BAM and at The Westin Bellevue. Beginning at 4 p.m. a curator tour of auction art was lead by BAM's artistic director Stefano Catalani and Curator Nora Atkinson. A Champagne reception and silent bidding took place from 5-6:45 p.m. Many of the artists who were selected to be part of the Bellevue Arts Fair donated an art piece and were invited to attend this reception.

More than 1,000 artists applied this year; only 300 were selected. Very competitive indeed.

The event moved on to Westin Bellevue for the super silent, dinner and live auction. One of the live auction items where the bidding went crazy was a dinner for 10 at the beautiful Bellevue Lake Washington home of Sherry and Larry Benaroya with Italian Glass Artist Lino Tagliapietra. Lino will be present and share another one of his passions:cooking. This dinner sold for $8,000.

Art pieces that went way over value include Julie Speidel's Upao, bronze with red patina for $14,500 (valued at $12,000); Preston Singletary Tlingit Berry Baskets, $14,500 (valued at $10,000); Sabrina Knowles and Jenny Pohlman's Liberation Spears, $10,000 (valued at $6,500).

Jenny and Sabrina, who are also BAM trustees, worked closely with Karen Willenbrink-Johnson and art teacher Melissa Misoda in leading a master glass art class in flower making with art students at Sammamish High School. They created the evening's centerpieces that came in a variety of colors and included three flowers and three vines. The centerpieces were valued at $500 each.

This year's honorees were Susan Thurston, her brothers Bill and Bob Thurston and sister Sherrie Tossell, of the Thurston Charitable Foundation. They were recognized for their dedication and generosity that they give to our community.

Another success of the evening was Raise the Paddle, which brought in $203,000 that night, with a match of $100,000 (total of $303,000) provided by BAM supporters Susan and Lonnie Edelheit, Kemper and Betty Freeman, Kathryn Alvord Gerlich and the Thurston Family Charitable Foundation.

“The commitment of our community to BAM is simply amazing,” shared Anne Kilcup, president of the Board of Trustees. “It shows how important the museum has become to the vitality of Bellevue and the greater region, and the high regard people hold for this year’s honorees, Susan Thurston & family and Thurston Charitable Foundation, as well as honorary co-chairs Angela and Carl Sutter. We’re immensely grateful to all of our supporters.”

I was continually impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication shared amongst the patrons, trustees, staff, volunteers, and artists. The Bellevue Arts Museum plays a very important role in enriching our lives, and is a treasure to our city.


Rose Dennis is a Greater Seattle style icon. Singled out by numerous publications, such as Seattle Magazine, she's been crowned as Seattle's Best Dressed, a Signature Style Uptown Girl and as a reigning tastemaker.

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