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Crowd Within | Neddy at Cornish Exhibition

Submitted on March 11, 2021 - 12:47pm
Graphic listing artists in the 2020 Neddy at Cornish exhibition

COVID-19 Notice

Thirty-minute, no-contact viewing appointments are available for this exhibition. All visits require a completed health attestation form, and all visitors must wear masks. No more than two individuals are permitted per appointment. Check appointment availability.


March 10 – March 27, 2021

The 2020 Neddy at Cornish award finalists are featured in this exhibition at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, which is curated by Satpreet Kahlon. The Neddy at Cornish is funded by the Behnke Foundation and stewarded by Cornish College of the Arts as a tribute to the Seattle painter and teacher Ned Behnke (1948-1989).

Follow the Neddy at Cornish Facebook page or the Cornish College of the Arts Instagram feed to view studio visits with the artists.


Curatorial Statement

This exhibition is a celebration. A moment to hold space for eight artists who have been named some of the most promising creators by the Neddy at Cornish 2020. It is a moment to name their accomplishments, showcase their visions, and begin to articulate the ways in which their works can be contextualised in a regional dialogue around identity, history-keeping, and placemaking.

This exhibition is also an acknowledgement of limitation. The multitudes of identities, dreams, and relations that each of these artists holds cannot be explained in a fellowship application, captured in an exhibition, or credited to a single cash prize. All of these things necessitate a flattening, a marketing, a narrowing of scope to make legible and coherent the often messy, contradictory, and incongruent nature of a human life.

What can an exhibition hold? What does it forget?

Crowd Within is an attempt at honoring these artists and the relationships they have, and have had - to one another, their families, and to us - the relations that pre-date and will continue long past a single awards season.

In the name of the exhibition, there is a reference to a phenomenon that shows that, if you ask a group of people a fact-based question, the average of their answers will be more accurate than any single response. This phenomenon indicates that collective wisdom, the kind that comes from us being in sincere, non-competitive, sustaining community with one another, will be the wisdom that leads us to build a future that is inclusive, just, and kind.

This is what I see in these artists’ work: through the physical fragments of ancestors Kimisha Turner embeds in her sculptures, the co-teaching models Marilyn Montufar models in her workshops with migrant youth, the speculative present that Tariqa Waters creates through her images of herself and her family.

The work in this show is a work that indicates, through its scope and framing, that there is no lone genius in a pristine studio, creating art in a vacuum. Instead, we are all entangled and indebted to so many others who came before us, work alongside us, feed us, and support us. Those we have known all our lives or have never even met, but who we battle alongside in the desire to create a world that sees and recognizes all of us, as we are.

This exhibition is a moment that holds within it so many moments, as captured in the individual works by each artist. Each piece is a portal, a window leading us to an intricate, delicate and beautiful community that upholds and supports the work of each of the artists in this show. And that kind of love - sustaining, necessary, and true - is always worth celebrating.

About the Neddy

The Neddy at Cornish Award honors the legacy of Seattle painter and teacher Ned Behnke (1948-1989). Ned was the son of Robert and Sally Skinner Behnke. Deaf from birth, Ned Behnke expressed himself in the visual arts from an early age. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central Washington University, and his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, Painting, from the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. He lived and worked in Seattle, where he taught art to hearing-impaired students at Cornish College of the Arts and other institutions.

During his life, Ned Behnke received many national arts awards including a major public art commission by the King County Arts Commission for the Seattle Hearing and Deafness Center. He exhibited his art widely and was represented by Foster/White Gallery in Seattle. Ned Behnke died in 1989.

His legacy is in evidence throughout our community through the generous philanthropy of the Behnke family. The Northwest AIDS Foundation (now the LIFELONG AIDS Alliance) created the Ned Behnke Leadership Award in 1993. The Ned Behnke Preschool, Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center was founded in 2007 with an emphasis on speech, language, and literacy development.