2016 Master of Design installations at Henry Art Gallery

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Director's Notes – January 2024

Submitted on January 17, 2024 - 6:28am
Jamie Walker, 2023
Jamie Walker, 2023.

Nothing like a few cold, clear days to remind us what a beautiful patch of the globe the UW is perched on. The mountains are finally blanketed in snow and the winter sunsets have been simply stunning, at least until the rains returned. Of course this hint at nature bathing only provides a partial reprieve to the greater unsettled state of the world we live in and how we engage with the challenges of our times.

As you can read in this newsletter, our students, staff, faculty, and alumni continue to be fully involved in their passions and actively making a difference for themselves and others. Our classes continue to be fully enrolled and interest in the School of Art + Art History + Design abounds on campus and well beyond. 

Emerging from the day when we honor Martin Luther King Jr., I am reminded about the positive impact even one person can have on the present and the future state of the world. In his own way, the impact that the artist Jacob Lawrence continues to have is profound and gratifying to recognize. We were fortunate that he and his fellow artist and wife, Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, chose to spend their last decades living in Seattle beginning in 1971 when he was appointed as a distinguished professor here at the UW. In 1986 he spoke at the unveiling of the portrait bust of Dr. King that can be found in Schmitz Hall. The Jacob Lawrence Gallery’s dedication to education, experimentation, and social justice is a testament to what Lawrence believed in so fervently and expressed with such clarity through his art over the course of his lifetime. This past November we celebrated the reopening of the newly transformed gallery and the dedication of a portrait of Jacob Lawrence by Barbara Earl Thomas.

I am immensely grateful to have played a part in the transformation of the gallery, a vision that was created over a decade ago and supported in so many ways by so many fellow believers. We are in the midst of hiring the next director + curator of the gallery and anticipating the ninth iteration of the Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency later this winter followed by another spring of senior graduation exhibitions.

While this is all extraordinary, the last piece of the puzzle is to insure the gallery’s future fiscal sustainability by increasing the Jacob Lawrence Gallery Endowment to supplement an annual budget that can reasonably fulfill the innovative and important programming that the gallery has become known for. Thank you for considering making a gift to help complete the vision of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. 

I am delighted to announce that Berette S Macaulay has signed on as the guest curator for this year’s Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency which is once again being funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Berette is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who has been a collaborator with the Jacob Lawrence Gallery and is one of the artists whose work is on view in the current exhibition, Glow in the Dark.. Through a discreet nomination process, Simon Benjamin was selected and accepted our offer to be the 2024 Legacy Resident. Benjamin is an artist and filmmaker living in New York and is excited to visit the Northwest for the first time to conduct research and create a new body of work using the gallery as an active studio. 

Thank you for your attention and care for what we do.

Read Winter 2024 Newsletter