Festival of Music Approved for $10,000 NEA Art Works Grant

Most Recent Grant Latest in Series of Annual Funding Since 2009
For immediate release:

Bellingham, WA.—The Bellingham Festival of Music has been recommended for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) $10,000 Art Works grant for 2017. The funding, the most recent in an annual series of grants since 2009, will support the programming and community engagement activities of the 24th season, July 1—21, 2017.

As announced on December 13, NEA Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

In acknowledging the grant, BFM Chair Karen Berry said, “We are delighted to once again be recommended for this prestigious grant. It attests to the outstanding artistry of our work and the importance of the Festival to the Northwest community. We look forward to working with the NEA to finalize the grant paperwork and are enormously appreciative of the agency’s support.”

“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the Bellingham Festival of Music, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

For more information on the Festival: www.bellinghamfestival.org

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
828 Racine St.
Bellingham, WA 98229


Nestled between snow-capped mountains and island-studded bay, Bellingham, Washington’s spectacular natural beauty provides the ideal backdrop for the celebration of classical music. Since 1993, the Bellingham Festival of Music has enlivened the summer season with outstanding live orchestral performances and chamber music recitals for Northwest Washington audiences. Under the direction of co-founder and noted American conductor Michael Palmer, the festival orchestra is composed of some of the finest musicians in the United States and Canada, many of them principals in such illustrious orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and the Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta Symphonies. They are joined by eminent soloists who have included Garrick Ohlsson, Lynn Harrell, Arnaldo Cohen, Vadim Gluzman, Joshua Bell, Frederica von Stade, and Pepe Romero. In addition, the festival boasts a resident chamber ensemble, currently the Calidore String Quartet, which presents recitals as well as participating in community educational and engagement activities.

Of equal importance to its summer season are the Festival’s year-round outreach initiatives which extend the beauty of classical music to youngsters in the region. Among these programs are masterclasses, and both the Play it Forward Chamber Music Residency and Beethoven in the Schools project which bring music to K-12 classrooms. In 2014-15, BFM also helped kick start the return of the Fifth Grade Strings program in the public schools.

The Festival’s artistic excellence has been recognized widely throughout the country and its concerts and recordings have been broadcast nationally, first by NPR and most recently by American Public Media on its Performance Today show. Among these recordings are the three-CD set of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos featuring Garrick Ohlsson with Michael Palmer conducting the Festival Orchestra. These performances were recorded live at the Festival on the Natural Soundfields label in 2000.

The recipient of grants from several entities, the Festival received National Endowment for the Arts grants in 2009-2016—a resounding endorsement of the quality of its performances and the contribution it makes to regional and national cultural life.