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Seattle Art Museum Supporters History

1985-1995: The Beginning

In 1985, Sally B. Nordstrom, while serving as a member of the Seattle Art Museum board, instigated a fundraising effort among her friends for new art museum space in downtown Seattle.  Sally gathered twenty-five Seattle-area women at the home of Nancy Alvord for the first meeting of what would soon be named Seattle Art Museum Supporters. Within two months, these ladies formed committees and successfully scheduled a full calendar of events with the goal of raising money for SAM while building friendships.

This founding group voted to limit its membership to 80, allowing them to continue to gather in homes and small artistic venues while planning fundraising events.

A milestone was the creation of a SAMS partnership with Nordstrom.  The first joint Nordstrom-SAMS event, a fashion tea, raised over $20,000.

SAMS donated nearly $700,000 to the Seattle Art Museum during this first decade.

1995-2005: The Middle Years

The interest in joining SAMS continued to grow. Facing a lengthy waitlist in 1995, SAMS created two levels of membership: Active and Sustainer.  This allowed active members to transition into a less-demanding position within SAMS after serving as an active volunteer for three years, making room for new members to join the organization at a faster rate.

The fundraising efforts of SAMS expanded to include three major fundraisers each year:  Fall Fundraiser—an evening cocktail party, Gardens of Art—a spring luncheon, and Nordstrom Designer Preview—SAMS’ continuing partnership with Nordstrom. 

SAMS members work hard to raise over 1 million dollars to underwrite the capital campaign for the museum’s imminent expansion.  

By the end of 2005, SAMS’ cumulative donations to the museum surpassed 3 million dollars.

2005-present: Our Third Decade and Beyond

SAMS officers and executive team members continue to meet on the second Wednesday of each month, September through June.  On the third Wednesday of these same months, the general membership meets to enjoy a private collection, an artist’s studio, or other artistic educational opportunity while hearing about the current fundraising efforts and associated activities.

Excitement surrounding the 2007 opening of the new Olympic Sculpture Park on Seattle’s waterfront followed by the re-opening of the downtown Seattle Art Museum, offered SAMS many opportunities to create entertaining fundraising events and educational experiences for members. 

As SAMS continued to grow and thrive, there was increased interest in expanding opportunities for members to socialize outside of the monthly meetings.  Formed in 2013, a Special Events Committee began planning events for our members such as attending Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker, enjoying a holiday luncheon and vintage fashion show at the Women’s University Club, and seeing a play at Seattle’s ACT Theatre.  After a well-attended trip by ferry to tour the new Bainbridge Island Art Museum, a travel committee developed.  SAMS ladies traveled to Portland in 2015, Vancouver, BC in 2016, San Francisco in 2017, Los Angeles in 2018, Chicago in 2019, Walla Walla in 2022, Honolulu in 2023, and Washington D.C. in 2024.

To date, SAMS’ collective contribution to Seattle Art Museum exceeds 8 million dollars.

SAMS Founding Members

Judy Addington
Margaret Allison
Nancy Alvord
Bylieu Badgley
Marjorie Bathum
Renee Behnke
Sue Blethen
Lynn Bradley
Susan Brotman

Alice Calvert
Barbara Goesling
Pam Green
Ann Hanson
Betty Hedreen
Linda Helsell
Mischa Leendertsen
Sally Maryatt
Diane McDonald

Nancy Mertel
Diana Neely
Sally B. Nordstrom, Founder
Penny Percy
Vicki Rauscher
Pam Schell
Andrea Selig
Bobbie Stern
Lyn White

SAMS Presidents

Sally B. Nordstrom     
Bylieu Badgley  1987-88
Marjorie L. Bathum  1988-90
Bobbie Neal  1990-91
Patricia Wallace 1991-92
Mischa Leendertsen 1992-93
Katy Titcomb 1993-94
Shary Frankfurter 1994-95
Mary Prater  1995-96
Elizabeth Rudolf 1996-97
Linda Trethewey   1997-98
Jeannie McGinnis 1998-99
Sharon Huling 1999-00
Sandra C. Carlson 2000-01
Kimberly Richter  2001-03
Gerlinde Whetzell  2003-04
Hope Stroble  2004-05
Helene Heglund Reed  2005-06
Gaylene Vaden  2006-07
Colleen McCann  2007-08
Cindy Daugherty 2008-09
Silvia Waltner  2009-10
Elizabeth Gessel  2010-11
Colette Courtion  2011-12
Rosemary McCauley 2012-13
Jaennae' Dinius 2013-14
Julia Younker  2014-15
Shelley Buhler  2015-16
Sally Wright  2016-17
Barb Maher 2017-18
Shelley Buurman 2018-19
Tiffany Sharer McGehee 2019-20
Andrea Watson 2020-21
Rosemary McCauley 2021-22
Kat Osler 2022-23
Martha Draves 2023-24

SAMS Volunteers of the Year

1995      Mischa Leendersten
1996      Shary Frankfurter
1997      Mary Prater
1998      Ginny Clarke
1999      Christine Nicolov
2000      Anne Barwick
2001      Shirley Miner
2002      Gaylene Vaden and Gerlinde Whetzell
2003      Kim Richter
2004      Jennifer Wathen
2005      Hope Stroble
2006      Helene Heglund Reed and Kim Bishop
2007      Lisa Dowling
2008      Colleen McCann
2009      Cindy Daugherty

2010      Silvia Waltner
2011      Sally Hirst
2012      Amy Niermeyer
2013      Rosemary McCauley
2014      Robin Martin
2015      Jaennae’ Dinius
2016      Julia Younker
2017      Kimberly Kusters
2018      Shelley Buhler
2019      Barb Maher
2020      Sally Wright
2021      Marie Lawrence-Hadley
2022      Tiffany Sharer McGehee
2023      Tracy Pozil
2024      Andrea Watson

Seattle Art Museum Supporters Contacts

SAMS President 

SAMS VP of Information and Technology

c/o Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue | Seattle WA 98101

SAMS is a 501(c)3 Non-profit Organization benefiting the Seattle Art Museum
© 2017-2024 Seattle Art Museum Supporters

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