Don’t miss part two of Michael Upchurch’s write-ups for Crosscut on smaller installations now on view at SAM: this week, he highlights New Topographics, featuring photographs of “man-altered landscapes,” and American Modernism, which includes two incredible paintings from SAM’s collection by Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley.
The fall edition of The Stranger’s Art & Performance Quarterly is out! Lots of SAM shows and events are among their critics’ recommendations, including the exhibitions Peacock in the Desert and Noble Splendor, the annual Diwali Ball, and film events Night Heat: The 41st Film Noir Series and Indian Film Masterpiece: The Apu Trilogy.
Sharing your deepest feelings in front of a group of people takes a lot of courage. It can be very transformative and therapeutic. This is what the Art with Heart Chill and Spill curriculum empowers students to do—it is a great tool that allows youth to navigate their emotions. Art with Heart is a nonprofit organization that uses art to help kids heal through their creative expression resources.
The day that Antonio confessed that even though his mother, who struggles with alcohol dependency, abandoned him, he still loved and cared for her. This young man took a huge step towards maturity and forgiveness, opening his heart while reading aloud his powerful last word letter, setting him free from his feelings.
Many of our program participants grow up in households without paternal or maternal figures or formal education. Many have had to escape and survive situations that most people cannot even imagine. Their resilience never ceases to surprise me. My hope and motivation is to teach them how to cope with their emotions through creative expression. Often times, when I observe their art and listen to their stories, I become the student and they become my teachers.
In every weekly class, the young men are able to express their varying emotions in a supportive, respectful, and safe environment. Our ground rules are very basic, as we all are looking for the same things: love, acceptance, and respect! I make sure that everyone understands that this is a special class, it is not about how cool their art projects might look, but about the process and what they learn about themselves.
Life is full of challenges and opportunities. Creating art means taking risks. Creative expression means exploring, recognizing, labeling, and understanding feelings. Sometimes it means confronting big emotions. Often it means accepting, surrendering, and forgiving the people who have hurt us, so that we find space to be free and to grow stronger, exactly as Antonio decided to do!
Images: Making My Way, linoleum block, printmaking ink. Made by a Friends of Youth resident during Art with Heart’s Chill & Spill Program, Age: 17. Courtesy of Art with Heart. Photo by Alan Abramowitz, artwork by Art with Heart program participant at Brettler Family Place. Photo by Sera Rogers. artwork by an Art with Heart participant at Friends of Youth.
As I walked towards the Seattle Art Museum to begin my Emerging Arts Leader internship, I was excited. I knew I would be working with the education and curatorial departments, but had only the minutest idea of what the internship would entail. At the staff entrance, I saw the other Emerging Arts Leader Intern for the summer nervously sitting on the couch. As Seohee Kim and I began to get to know each other, it was apparent we had many similarities. We are both passionate about immigrant rights and we both originally intended to take a law career track but found ourselves working in the arts, despite the initial backlash from our parents. I didn’t know it then, but Seohee and I would become an inseparable and fierce duo.
Everyone we met was genuine, welcoming, caring, and passionate. I honestly could not believe my eyes, it seemed almost suspicious. The education department glows with kindness and a love for the Seattle Art Museum’s mission to connect art to life. I went to college in Connecticut, and although I was raised in Seattle, I didn’t have many friends or connections with the arts community. This quickly changed. I could share with you about how I gained professional experience using The Museum System to research and organize objects. I could tell you about the meetings I sat in on where my voice mattered and my opinions were valued. I could tell you how I learned about the behind-the-scenes work that most people don’t know about. I could tell you how this internship opened my eyes to a possible career path that I would’ve never known about prior to this summer: exhibition design. I could write about each of these topics, but I want to focus on the amazing events that allowed me to get involved with the Seattle community and touched my heart with the amount of support and healing that took place at these events.
Three events, in particular, had a strong impact on me; the [Black] Power Summit, the Creative Advantage, and Remix. The Power Summit was a health and wellness conference for Seattle’s Black community. The first panel was one on mental health and mindfulness. The panel spoke about generational trauma and the stigma behind mental illness within the Black community. I could relate to these trends within the Latinx community. Often times, our parents work so hard to provide for our families that they dwell in survival mode. When we are raised in households where mental illnesses are stigmatized, we feel as if we are a burden to our family if we bring up issues we may be facing. As we keep hiding, the marble-sized issue becomes a bowling ball. One panelist suggested that we sit with our discomfort and strip it of its power over us. The trauma may still be present in the form of memories or thoughts, but it will no longer have power over our ability to thrive.
If you’ve never been to Remix, just know you’re sleeping! Remix is a beautiful event in which many people come together to share the dance floor, art activities, tours, drinks, as well as their most fly outfits. I loved the art activities, but what really impacted me was the dancing. With performing artists such as the Purple Lemonade Collective, Bouton Volonté, and Randy Ford, the dance floor was throbbing with presence and beauty. When the dancers dipped, catwalked, and, yes, even twerked, a semi-circle formed around them of mainly white allies. Space was created for queer and trans people of color to exist, express their passion, make art, and share joy. As they created magic with their bodies, the viewers cheered and recorded, but mainly they yelled words of encouragement and awe. This wonderful space for marginalized groups to feel at ease within a large group of white folks didn’t feel uncomfortable or unwelcoming though. At that moment, race, gender, and sexuality were being praised and we were allowed to take up space with the knowledge that our allies are there to support us. If I wasn’t so busy sweating through my orange romper from all the dancing, I probably would have shed a tear of joy and love.
The Seattle Art Museum is a highly inclusive environment that truly values racial equity. The institution is not building inclusive spaces or challenging our thinking because it is the trendy thing to do. The Seattle Art museum genuinely values equity work, from the director of the museum to interns like me and Seohee, and in between. This experience was one of healing for me after graduating from an institution on the East Coast that lacked passion for equality and often protests had to occur to demand visibility for underrepresented groups. The Seattle Art Museum is taking a stand and a leadership role to highlight and welcome all identities. When the mission statement says that the Seattle Art Museum connects art to our lives, I understand that they connect art to our lives because they know that our lives matter and want to be a space for healing, learning, and unity.
– Dovey Martinez, SAM 2018 Emerging Arts Leader Intern
Curated by RYAN! Feddersen and featuring art by Asia Tail and Fox Spears, we just had to stop by for more creative output from these artists who have also been involved with SAM during Double Exposure. The collection of art on view offers a range of styles from contemporary Native artists in a variety of mediums by artists hailing from tribes across the extended Pacific Northwest and beyond. Feddersen is the mastermind behind the Post Human Archive, the social media activity that was installed at SAM.
Asia Tail, also a curator (we can’t wait to see yəhaw̓ at the King Street Station opening in January 2019) is the hand behind the words on the Double Exposure website but we hadn’t seen her art previously! Fox Spears is one of the teaching artists offering free Drop-In Studio workshops at SAM (there’s one more workshop on Sunday led by Sondra Segundo before the exhibition closes) and it was so nice to see this work after learning so much about his process!
The lens we look through changes everything. In Native Portraiture, Tacoma Art Museum asks the question: What is communicated when an outsider portrays someone from another culture?
In the galleries you will have the chance to see contemporary Native artists representing Indigenous cultures for themselves. These works are interspersed by a few examples of depictions by non-Native artists that romanticize, stereotype, or appropriate Native people and cultures. We recommend spending at least an hour or two in this gallery to fully absorb the impact of this contrast.
Do yourself a favor and enjoy the ferry and short drive that it takes to get to Suquamish Museum. Well designed and chock-full of information, the permanent installation tells a detailed and important story through movement, textures, the forest environment and the symbolic movement of the tide. The objects on view, many never before exhibited, are a combination of works owned by the Suquamish Museum and on loan from Suquamish families and other museums. The way these objects are arranged creates an environment where you will want to spend some time. The museum describes their goal as an attempt to “displace the modern way of historical contextual understanding. Culture is more than historical events strung together. The passing of knowledge and values, generation to generation, is the core of Suquamish culture.” Based on our visit, the Suquamish achieves their goal, and then some!
Where your day trips take you, SAM recommends you make the time to visit the wealth of museums in Washington featuring work by Native artists!
Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson closes at SAM on September 9, but here are 8 places you can visit in Seattle (and beyond) where you can continue to widen your lens on Native culture. Indigenous peoples have been living in the Puget Sound area for well over 4,000 years making for a rich but complex history that has left a lasting mark on the region. Despite the hardships faced by Native communities, Native culture continues to thrive.
After decades of planning and fundraising, the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center opened its doors to tribal members, visitors, and the community in 2009. Located at a historic archeological site along the Duwamish river in West Seattle, the lobby displays archeological materials from the site and has a resource center filled with photographs, interviews, field notes, and other literature about the Duwamish and coastal Salish people. Visit the longhouse’s gallery and exhibit area—it’s free! In addition, the longhouse holds monthly special events as well as ongoing workshops, demonstrations and lectures.
Located on the University of Washington Seattle campus, the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, pronounced “wah-sheb-altuh,” aims to provide a welcoming space and a supportive educational environment for all Native students. Though this longhouse-style facility is on a college campus and many events are reserved for UW students, it also hosts a variety of different events like film screenings and concerts that are also open to the public. Check out their Facebook page for details on upcoming events.
If you’re in Neah Bay be sure to stop by the Makah Cultural & Research Center—the center includes the Makah Museum, as well as the Museum store, Makah Language Program, Archives and Library Department, Makah Education Department, and Tribal Historic Preservation Office. Their permanent collection boasts 300-500 year old artifacts recovered from a Makah village in Ozette, Washington. The Makah Museum also offers demonstrations and lectures by Makah Tribal Leaders plus workshops where you can learn to make crafts from Makah tradition.
Located in Seattle’s Discovery Park, Sacred Circle Gallery is a gallery space inside of Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. Along with a permanent collection of Native American art, they show curated exhibits featuring contemporary and traditional Native American Art by global and local artists.
This Port Angeles heritage center is the home of a permanent exhibit of Kallam Village artifacts along with contemporary works by local tribal members. Across the street from the Heritage Center you’ll find The Carnegie Museum, managed by The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the space displays cultural and historical artifacts of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and other tribes of the Olympic Peninsula.
Located on the Evergreen State College campus in Olympia, “House of Welcome” Longhouse Education and Cultural Center’s mission is promoting Indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression, and economic development. Come to the longhouse to learn about indigenous arts and cultures through Native art markets, exhibitions, performances, films, and other public events.
Learn about the legacy of the Tulalip Tribe and people via interactive displays and stories told in both Lushootseed and English at the Hibulb Cultural Center. In addition to the museum’s permanent collection and rotating special exhibitions, they host public events and workshops from weaving and beading classes to salmon bake fundraisers. And, to top it all off, the Cultural Center also happens to be located on a 50-acre natural history preserve, with a research library and a longhouse!
Lelooska Family dancers give audience members an understanding of Northwest Coast First Nations culture in living history performances at the Lelooska Foundation and cultural center. Along with living history performances, the Lelooska Foundation offers classes in traditional Northwest Coast crafts like wood carving, weaving, beading, and more. In addition, the Lelooska Museum holds an immense collection of artifacts from around the globe—check out their website for museum hours and event dates!
– Nina Dubinsky, Social Media and Communications Coordinator
Images: Photo courtesy of Lelooska Foundation. Photo courtesy of the Longhouse at Evergreen. Photo courtesy of the Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve.
Sarah Bloom, SAM’s Senior Manager for Teen, Family & Multigenerational Programs and Learning, was interviewed for this ParentMap feature that combines fall arts recommendations for the family with the reasons why exposure to the arts is so important.
“Building the skill of close looking is something we try to instill in children and caregivers together,” Bloom says. “Looking at art is a skill that you build over time.”
Crosscut’s Brangien Davis on the Bellwether Festival, which debuts a revamped format this year with more happenings and a companion show at Bellevue Art Museum; I definitely want to see Tariqa Waters’ giant pack of Quilted Northern.
“I set up the camera and the moment she came into the frame, I moved in, sat next to her and asked her to look at the lens. I had no idea what her expression was, I just turned and pressed the shutter release – you can see it in my right hand.”
The Louvre can have Beyoncé and Jay-Z; SAM has Saeed and Isaac! Keep an eye out in September for Buzzfeed’s AM2DM road trip stories from Seattle, including their visit to the museum.
– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations
Image: Installation view of In This Imperfect Present Moment at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Natali Wiseman.
The Seattle Art Museum is saddened to have lost a tremendous friend of the museum. Griffith Way was appreciated for his gentle nature combined with fine humor that enriched everyone who knew him. He became a Trustee of the Seattle Art Museum in 1995 and received honorary distinction in 2009. A graduate of the University of Washington, Griff was part of the first graduating class specializing in Japanese law. He was also an Adjunct Professor, University of Washington School of Law and spent decades periodically practicing law in Tokyo. In 2007, he was honored with the Order of the Rising Sun by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan in recognition of his long-standing support to increase economic and cultural development between the United States and Japan.
Early in their years in Japan, after the conclusion of WWII, Griff and his wife, Pat, became interested in the then-new style of modern Japanese painting executed in traditional media and formats, known as nihonga; a late 19th-century style among artists seeking both cultural continuity and to address Japan’s emergence as a modern nation. Griff and Pat went on to develop a remarkable nihonga collection that they have shared broadly with the public.
In winter of 1999, SAM welcomed Modern Masters of Kyoto: The Transformation of Japanese Painting Traditions, Nihonga from the Griffith and Patricia Way Collection presented at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Their gift to SAM of 150 nihonga paintings has made SAM the repository of the largest collection of nihonga outside Japan.
As a member of SAM’s board, Griff served as Chair of the Seattle Asian Art Museum Committee and then as Honorary Chair of the Seattle Asian Art Museum Campaign Committee. As Trustee Emeritus of the Blakemore Foundation, Griff facilitated critical funding from the Foundation, which has supported SAM since 1992, most notably through the Blakemore Internship Program for Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum.
Griff’s unwavering dedication to the Seattle Asian Art Museum will be remembered by the museum and community in a future reading area named in his honor, of our McCaw Foundation Library. Griff’s commitment to Asian art and culture will continue to inspire us and our role in connecting with Asia as never before.
SAM runs on the love and dedication of our talented volunteers. With varied interests and backgrounds, each volunteer brings their unique perspective to the art at SAM and to the community that grows out of it! Kimber Bang is a tennis enthusiast with an interest in Greek mythology, specifically depictions of Leda and the Swan. Our Manager of Volunteers asked Kimber some questions so you can get to know her and give her a smile the next time you have an appointment at the Bullitt Library!
How long have you been volunteering at Seattle Art Museum?
Five years this fall.
Why is SAM important to you?
Art is for everyone! SAM does an amazing job with its variety of exhibitions. I started coming to SAM in the early 80’s when I moved here. Being able to contribute to its mission of connecting art to life and engaging the community is a privilege and a real pleasure. I also enjoy all the volunteers and employees I have met here!
What is one of your favorite artworks in SAM’s collection, and why?
I have two. Leda and the Swan by John Cobert. The simplicity and angles are a joy. I can’t help but also look at the small pencil flower drawing in the bottom right corner that I was told was done by his young daughter. If it is on display I try to get visitors to go to the 4th floor to see the same subject in Leda and The Swan and Her Children by Vincent Sellaer from 1540.
I also love The Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal, Venice by Luca Carlevariis. It could be Venice today if you changed the outfits! The best part is how the perspective/size of the palace and view changes as you walk side to side in front of the art work.
When not at SAM, what do you do for fun?
I am an avid tennis player—particularly mixed doubles with my husband. I play golf, ski, run, hike, and travel. We are headed to the Amalfi Coast this fall. I also do Ikebana.
What is something that most people might not immediately know about you?
I am a retired ER/research nurse. I moved to Seattle in 1981 so I could work at Harborview in the trauma center.
What is a simple hack, trick, or advice that you’ve used over time to help you better fulfill your role?
A smile is never wasted! As a SAMbassador you may encounter visitors that may not want to interact but they always enjoy and appreciate a smile as they get off the escalator or cross paths in the galleries.
I find that knowing an obscure or special fact about an artwork helps to start a conversation while someone is viewing or is just finishing viewing a piece. If I share something interesting it can lead to further conversation or even the visitor teaching me something. I have learned so much about other museums and artists by listening to guests. Everyone likes to be heard! I have gotten many tips about places and things to see when I travel which only helps with my positions here.
“Is it a guttural battle cry? A shriek of surprise? A call across a crowded subway platform to an old friend glimpsed boarding a train? A eureka-like shout of stunned recognition that Armenia is the country whose art you long to appreciate the most of all?”