Receiving state certification as a “creative district” from the Washington Arts Commission (ArtsWa) probably doesn’t surprise many islanders. After all, Bainbridge is home to a vast variety of artists and creatives from every genre.
We have it all, ranging from painters, sculptors, photographers, artisan chefs, bakers, confectioners, brewers, vintners, distillers, jewelry makers, quilters, writers, musicians, performing artists…the list goes on. In addition, we are fortunate to be home to museums, several galleries and creative learning centers such as Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN) and Scrappy Art Lab.
The creative district certification will assist in supporting and promoting our creative community. Arts & Humanities Bainbridge and the partners it collaborated with to win the certification are now working to brand the creative district and spread the excitement about what it means for the island. In need of a logo, they turned to Alex Sanso.
For artist and business owner Alex Sanso, being part of our artistic community has always been inspiring. Her design career has taken her all over the country and internationally. She spent almost a decade creating beautiful high-quality collectables and memorabilia for Walt Disney World, and in 2013 she began her own line of Bainbridge Island collectibles. After several years of selling Bainbridge-themed art gifts around the island, Alex opened her own shop, Island Life Artisan Gifts on Winslow Way in 2021.
She was honored when approached to design the logo for the Bainbridge Creative District, but a bit nervous about the responsibility of creating one image to represent the deep creative well on Bainbridge Island. Arts & Humanities Bainbridge had created an Executive Committee, consisting of its partners, to help manage the new “creative district” and connected Alex with Jean-Claude Louis—who was leading the Arts Committee—as her point of contact on the project. “He was an absolute pleasure to work with,” Alex said of Jean-Claude, who is a talented photographer and creative in his own right, “his artistic input was invaluable.”
Alex began by researching other creative districts in Washington to get an idea of how those communities were representing their area. Alex wanted to create something distinctive
that was representative of Bainbridge. Of course, all the usual options occurred to her; ferries, trees, water, and mountains. However, both Alex and Jean-Claude knew she’d have to dig deeper than that.
Focusing on the “BCD” acronym, Alex worked up several concepts that highlighted those letters in various ways that might express the theme of creativity. Soon she envisioned the letters as pieces of a mobile (with a grateful nod to Alexander Calder). “The idea of connected elements that represent the diversity of island artists seemed in balance with the community,” she explained.
Although she felt the mobile concept was the most compelling, she created several other concepts, too, that might be considered more mainstream. With Jean-Claude’s help, the options were narrowed down to two and presented to the Arts Committee. As Alex told me, the committee was pretty evenly split in the beginning, but after working to refine the details, the panel was soon won over on the concept.
From the beginning, Alex sought to “create a timeless and classic logo, yet something that felt fresh and contemporary at the same time— reflecting the sophisticated, yet friendly artistic vibe of our island artists and creatives. I hope the community feels I’ve hit the mark.”
Bainbridge Creative District, is led by Arts & Humanities Bainbridge with partners: Bainbridge Chamber (co-chair), Downtown Association, Visit Bainbridge, Destination Bainbridge & Lodging Association, City Council member, Multicultural Advisory Council, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (all part of the executive committee). The Arts Committee is led by Jean-Claude Louis and members Ken Matsudaira, Isobel Coney, Jonathan Warman, and other volunteers.
Although most communities define their creative district as a small geographical area of cultural and economic activity, Bainbridge Island is different. Our creative minds have public and private studios and businesses throughout the island. To accommodate this, the committee defines our creative district as the “Glow”:
“Our district also features a weekly Farmer’s Market, performing arts center, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, ice-cream shops, award-winning coffee shops, a community center in the “glow” consisting of artisans and makers (Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network – BARN), Large Studios, Bloedel Reserve, and so much more.” – Bainbridge Currents
The logo designed by Alex will be displayed on July 1 at the Moonlight Market (come and get a sticker), July 3 BCD launch and Street Dance, around Winslow and at our “experience the creative district” on Sep 10 in Winslow. You also will be hearing more about the Bainbridge Creative District in the weeks to come leading up to the official launch on July 3.
OTHER ISLAND WANDERINGS
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Island Wanderings: The Fabulous Fenderskirts: How three women became the island’s most iconic musical trio
Island Wanderings: A date with the Fabulous Fenderskirts – Gala Movie Event and Fundraiser
Island Wanderings: Alex Sanso – Creating Memories Through Collectible Art
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ABOUT MARGARET MILLMORE. Margaret Millmore is a supernatural fiction author and blogger, living on Bainbridge Island with her husband, Bryan. Her first published works were flash fiction, The Welcome Home and Untitled – Luke N. Goode, which were featured on Bay Area artist, Kenny Mencher’s blog. In 2011 she published her first full length novel, since then she’s published a three book series, another novel and her current series (via Next Chapter Publishing – formerly Creativia Publishing) What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 1); The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book 2), which was awarded the August 2016 Book of the Month award by Long and Short Reviews; and What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3). The majority of her books are set in San Francisco where she lived—previous to island life—for over 26 years. Her preferred writing genre is supernatural fiction, with the exception of her time-travel novel, The Dragonfly Door. In addition to her novels, Margaret writes a blog, called The Island Wanderer – which focuses on people, events and businesses on Bainbridge Island: https://theislandwanderer.com/blog/. All her books can be found on her website and her Amazon Author page.