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'Green: on the edge' closes Sunday at IMA; museum will move in October to accommodate move of Brown House to American Camp

The San Juan Islands Museum of Art is moving in October to accommodate the relocation of the Brown House to American Camp. - Richard Walker / 2009
The San Juan Islands Museum of Art is moving in October to accommodate the relocation of the Brown House to American Camp.
— image credit: Richard Walker / 2009

If you haven't made it into IMA's "Green: on the edge" exhibit at the art museum, now is the time to do it.

This thought-provoking show closes Sunday, Sept. 12. It's the final exhibit at that location; IMA moves to temporary offices on Argyle Avenue the second week of October to accommodate the relocation of the Brown House to American Camp.

According to the National Park Service, the Brown House originated at Fort Bellingham in the 1850s and was disassembled and moved to American Camp during the joint military occupation of 1859-1872, where it served as an officers' quarters.

After the joint occupation ended, the house was moved to its current location, where it served a variety of commercial roles, from blacksmith shop to art gallery. The owners of Friday Harbor House are giving the building to the National Park and will expand the hotel onto the site.

Wendy Smith of IMA said museum offices will be located next to San Juan Fitness. Exhibits will be held in various locations, and IMA will begin a capital campaign to raise money for a permanent location.

"We're going to be a museum without walls for a while," she said.

Of this latest show, Smith said, "Islanders and visitors from all around the world have come through IMA's doors this summer and have been raving about 'Green: on the edge.' This juried, multi-media, visual arts competition asks the question, 'What does green mean to you? Take it to the edge!' Artists from Oregon and Washington — including 15 artists from the San Juan Islands — answered this question with an incredible, diverse and profound show. It's a must see. Don't miss it."

IMA — the San Juan Islands Museum of Art — was created Jan. 1, 2009 in the merger of Westcott Bay Institute for Art & Nature, which operated the museum and Westcott Bay Sculpture Park; and the Visual Arts Museum of San Juan County, which had proposed building an accredited art museum in the San Juans.

IMA was formerly located on Spring Street in the former Springtree Restaurant location; it moved to First Street in May 2009. The move created a sort of Museum Row on First Street, within walking distance from the ferry landing. Also on First Street: The Friday Harbor Veterans Museum, which features artifacts related to the military service of islanders dating to the 1800s; and the Whale Museum, which is devoted to the study of marine mammals, particularly the endangered Southern resident killer whales.

Nearby are the San Juan Historical Museum, uptown on Price Street; and the San Juan Aviation Museum at Friday Harbor Airport.

The museums' directors began a collaborative partnership this year called the Friday Harbor Museum District, to promote the walkability of the town's five museums. They launched a new brochure and had an open house Aug. 12.

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