Way back in the 1980s, when photographs were made with film, and gas was less than a buck a gallon, the Washington State High School Photography Competition began as the brainchild of a few photography instructors committed to elevating their students’ skills, and celebrating their creativity. Since then, this competition has blossomed into the largest event of its kind in the United States, receiving nearly 4,000 entries every year.
The competition is open to students enrolled in grades 9–12 in a public, private, or alternative high school in Washington State. In 2017, there were twelve categories in which students could enter. The exhibition includes the top three photographs from each category. The categories and rules are reviewed every year and approved by our advisory board of five active high school photography instructors.
Our event relies on the volunteer efforts of high school students and instructors, and the support of a handful of dedicated sponsors including Museum Quality Framing, Kenmore Camera, Canon, Jones Soda, Photographic Center Northwest, Key Bank, and Seattle Sounders FC. We also enjoy a wonderful partnership with the Seattle Art Museum. Since 1995, SAM has showcased our annual exhibit to help celebrate the exceptional talent emerging from our high schools. This collaborative effort helps us achieve our mission to provide a prestigious public platform for student photography.
This year our judges were photographers Chris Bennion, Claire Garoutte and Spike Mafford. They dedicated an entire day to review the thousands of entries. We very much appreciate their time and expertise.
Conservator Tomokatsu Kawazu studies Japanese paintings at SAM for the Mellon conservation survey
In 2013, the Seattle Art Museum received a generous three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of programs and initiatives in Asian Art. We dedicated the grant to two important areas for any museum: conservation and curatorial work. Through the grant, we will foster even better understanding of SAM’s rich Asian art collection and we will also forge new relationships with Asian museums, curators, artists and scholars. With these aims in mind, SAM staff visited a select number of partners in Asia last year and we welcomed two fascinating visitors in October 2014 in connection with this project.
Conservator Tomokatsu Kawazu examines a painting on the light table for the Mellon Survey
A major goal of the Mellon grant is to conduct a comprehensive conservation survey of SAM’s great collection of Japanese painted scrolls and screens. The funding enables us to bring Japanese paintings conservator Tomokatsu Kawazu to SAM two times per year for the next three years to document the Japanese paintings collection, with specific focus on the materials and preservation state of each painting. In early October, Mr. Kawazu was at SAM for the first residency, during which he conducted a marathon evaluation of seventy-one Japanese paintings in two short weeks. Working closely with Chief Conservator Nicholas Dorman, Collections Care Manager Marta Pinto-Llorca and Project Coordinator Rachel Harris, Mr. Kawazu examined each painting, documenting its condition with detailed notes and close-up images. In spring 2015, Mr. Kawazu will return to evaluate a second group of Japanese paintings. Two important spin-offs of the survey are that the grant enabled us to set up a work station, equipped with the highly specialized tools and materials of the Asian paintings conservator. We are also able to take new photographs of all the surveyed objects, with SAM conservation staff shooting macro shots, inscriptions and other details and photographer Spike Mafford taking high-resolution shots of a selection of paintings.
Spike Mafford and his assistant photographing paintings for the Mellon survey
Ukiyoe, Figure of a woman, Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, 33.1689. The Mellon conservation survey provides unprecedented documentation and new photography of works like this that hail from the earliest days of the collection
The curatorial track of the Mellon grant is also moving ahead. While Mr. Kawazu was examining Japanese paintings, Eunju Choi, Chief Curator of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) was also in residence at SAM. The Mellon grant provided funds to bring Ms. Choi to Seattle so that she could begin planning an exhibition with Xiaojin Wu, SAM’s Curator of Japanese and Korean art. Tentatively planned for late 2015, this exhibition will offer Seattleites a look at contemporary Korean art never before seen in our city.
In very different ways, the conservation survey and the new curatorial collaborations give a terrific boost to our collection legacy and our Asian programs, we look forward to sharing its progress with you over the next two years.
Project Coordinator for Asian Art Collaborations
Curator of Japanese and Korean Art
Conservator Tomokatsu Kawazu and project coordinator Rachel Harris work on the Mellon survey to document the condition of Japanese paintings
I had the pleasure of attending the opening for the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs Seattle as Collector exhibition here at SAM last night. The exhibition is part of the celebration of the Office’s 40th Anniversary, and the show includes over 110 pieces from the city’s 2,800 piece collection. The city’s collection, garnered through the 1% for art program, is really pretty extraordinary. I had been looking forward to seeing the installation, but when I actually walked through it, I was really struck by the artists included. We’re talking Chuck Close, Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, Alden Mason…big names. And there were a bunch of artists that I recognized because of exhibitions and projects I’ve worked on at SAM over the last few years.Read More