Category: Northwest Art

An Evening of Art and Conversation: Three Perspectives

Last month, a few dozen Junior League of Seattle members, along with several guests, congregated at the Woodside / Braseth Gallery for an evening of art and conversation focused on northwest art and artists.  John Braseth, the owner, warmly welcomed visitors and led a tour of the beautiful space.   Jessica, Meredith and Katharine, JLS members, left this event feeling inspired and eager to share their thoughts about art.

Art1

Jessica

I would consider myself to be someone who appreciates fine art, but most certainly not an expert or collector. As we walked through the current Jared Rue exhibit, and stopped to learn about the other Northwest artists also on display, John touched upon a topic that had recently crossed my mind: how does one begin an art collection?

I have been fortunate enough to see renowned pieces in museums, galleries, and even private homes. However, the idea of purchasing a piece of “real” art–meaning, a bigger investment than custom framing on a print that I bought from a One Kings Lane sale–has always seemed a bit intimidating. Original artwork can be very expensive, and what do I know about investing in art, anyway? However, John emphasized that collecting can really begin anywhere–and that a personal attachment to the artist’s work is the most important element. Building a collection goes beyond whether or not something matches your home decor. It’s about the emotional ties that a buyer feels about the piece, and patronage of an artist can start small. While this all seems pretty obvious as I type it out, I realized that I’d attributed too much importance to the notion that art collecting needs to be done in a certain way–which inherently made starting a collection seem daunting and prohibitively expensive. While I didn’t walk out of the Woodside / Braseth Gallery with a painting in hand, the evening inspired me to further explore the amazing art of the Pacific Northwest–and made me hopeful about eventually bring an original piece into my home.

Meredith

For me, Northwest Art is the heart of the Junior League of Seattle.  Perhaps, it’s because the Northwest Art committee was my first placement with the League.  But I don’t think that is the only reason.  I’ve witnessed how a quiet, shy classroom of 6th graders can come alive while discussing a piece of art.  I’ve walked around a classroom and listened to students debate “what the artist really meant.”  As docents, the Northwest Art volunteers prompt the students with questions similar to the following: Art2

  • What do you see?
  • What does it make you think about?
  • How do you feel when you look at the artwork?
  • What do you think the artist was feeling when (s) he made this piece?

Ultimately, the docents are encouraging the classroom to explore and discover the art and the artist.  Very rarely, will students state that they love or hate the art work.  They manage to be open- minded and very honest about what they see.  Part of me wonders if their open mindedness is because they aren’t thinking about the art as something they would or wouldn’t own.  They are just seeing it and appreciating the art for exactly what it is: Art.

Spending the evening with NW Art at the Woodside/Braseth Gallery was lovely.  And listening to John Braseth talk about the history of the gallery and his experience with art, art patrons, and artists, was fascinating.  But I couldn’t help but miss the excitement of the classroom.  Maybe we are all ladies now, and a bit too refined to shoot up our hands or shout out what the paintings make us feel.  Maybe we are scared that we’ll get it wrong.  What if I don’t like the painting but the person next to me loves it?  Or we worry about buying the perfect piece of art.  I’m realizing that we, as adults, are missing out on what the Northwest Art docents are encouraging classrooms to do:  Explore and discover the art and the artist.  Very rarely will you walk into a gallery or museum where someone will prompt you with questions about the art.  We need to train ourselves to ask the questions and really see the art.  We need to be curious and explorative and seek out the art of discovery.  Love the piece or don’t love the piece, but still appreciate the art.

Katharine

As someone who has grown up as a daughter of an artist and has been experiencing life through art for 30+ years, I am always fascinated by learning how other people’s lives have been changed by art. I majored in Art History in college but left school feeling that “art” had a different meaning to everyone. We can analyze a piece to death and know all about the time in which it was created and what the artist was thinking, but none of that really matters if you hate the piece or feel nothing when you see it. Art3

What I appreciated most about the NW Art Training at the Woodside/Braseth Gallery was listening to the owner, John, speak about one piece in particular that made him realize how art can create a physical reaction. This is Morris Graves’ “The Wounded Gull” created in 1943.

Graves created the painting during WW2 to communicate the darkness of war. John said that he first saw “The Wounded Gull” as a very young man, and it was the first time in his life that he realized art didn’t have to be pretty in order to make you feel something. He commented that it is not necessarily the type of piece that everyone wants to have in their living room, but it is something that makes you think or even better, it is something that makes you feel.

I think that many people see art as a way to decorate. That is a completely natural response. But when you first experience having an emotional or visceral reaction to a piece of art, you are forever changed and never look at art the same way. I am so thankful to have been able to see a little bit of what the NW Art program is all about. Spreading the appreciation of original creative works to people who would not normally get to experience it, is a huge task and one that massively impacts a community of growing minds.

John’s call to action is what I left with in my mind. Do not be afraid to look at all types of art. Ask yourself if you have a reaction to a piece. And then, support an artist. An art collection can start with a $25 screen print that you purchased from an artist at a First Thursday art walk. It doesn’t have to be the price of a car. Just get out and experience art.

A cornerstone of Junior League of Seattle is the many diverse training opportunities for its members.  The NW Art Evening of Conversation is just one unique example.  The League also offers trainings in everything from legislative advocacy, to running effective business meetings, to living a balanced life.  If you are interested in joining the Junior League of Seattle, please read more on the JLS website about the upcoming Meet & Greets for prospective members.

Spotlight on Emerging Leader Brea Burkholz

By Minda Brusse, Community Programs Manager

Brea Burkholz
Brea Burkholz

As a member of the Northwest Art League & Community Outreach committee, Brea Burkholz ended the 2013-14 League year with a substantial project in the works. When her committee discussed the idea of using the League’s artpiece Yellow No Same with a Bellevue middle school, Brea jumped in and took the lead.

The art piece, by Roger Shimomura, focuses on the Japanese-American internment experience and is new to our 80+ piece Northwest Art Collection. Middle school students in Bellevue study this history topic in the eighth grade, and we thought this particular piece would be a new lens through which to learn about the experience. League member and middle school teacher Susie Challancin connected us with teachers at Chinook Middle School where she teaches.

Students did small group breakout activities focusing on the 12 panels of the piece
Students did small group breakout activities focusing on the 12 panels of the piece

Historically, Northwest Art committees work with kids ages 6-12, but increasingly we are testing the waters with teens. Small project events in the past few years at the Ryther Center (with the League’s Done in a Day committee) and at Treehouse (with the League’s Life Skills:Teens committee) have been successful.

Even though it was already April and the docenting would not occur until June (the next League year), Brea forged ahead gathering other volunteers from around the NW Art committees, as well as provisionals and sustainers.  Her enthusiasm, organization, and determination were catching.

NW Art Member, Domenica Lovaglia, docents for the first time
NW Art Member, Domenica Lovaglia, docents for the first time

Brea used the resources of the League to grow as a community leader and demonstrated League President Megan Isenhower’s theme for the year, What We Are. The attributes she demonstrated were:

Ambition

– Facilitating, docenting, and supporting new docents during seven class periods.

– We covered art and cultural stereotypes on a Friday in June, the day before the eighth graders were graduating. Brea kept them participating and in line with a great presence. No small feat!

Organization

– Developing the draft of a new curriculum with our Art & Education Curator.

– Meeting with middle school teachers to review the curriculum and plan events for the day to fully pilot the curriculum.

– Training the docents and assigning clear roles.

– Evaluating teacher feedback and working with the Art & Education Curator to finalize a draft curriculum to be leveraged in the years ahead.

Inclusiveness

– Recruiting four weekday volunteer docents from within the League.  Some were (barely) first year actives. One first-year active had her first docenting experience that Friday.

– Training and communicating with the docents, teachers and our Art & Education Curator about facilitating seven class periods with 271 eighth grade students.

 

Brea showed the best attributes of What We Are.  She’s the 2014-2015 Chair of Northwest Art League and Community Outreach and the League is lucky to have such a phenomenal leader guiding Northwest Art’s outreach!

Art For The Soul: Bringing Art To Those In Need

by Raminta Hanzelka

Earlier this month, the NW Art League and Community Outreach (LCO) committee had our 2nd annual collaboration with the Life Skills: Teen committee. We held an art docenting and art-making session at Treehouse, sharing the joy of discovering a piece of art for the first time with about a dozen girls in foster care– and giving them the chance to make their own as well. It was inspiring to watch them engage with the art and come out of their shells!

We brought two contrasting pieces of art: a whimsical paint splatter piece by Dale Chihuly, and a meticulously put together patterned piece by Mark Toby to set the stage for the girls to create their own concepts and turn them into works of art. Our Art Curriculum Director, Halinka Wodzinski, created a versatile curriculum to guide us through the process of teaching the girls how to do printmaking on journals.

Our inspiration for this project was to bring in the theme of Empowerment for the girls through the artistic process. During the art-docenting, we connected the girls to the history of Dale Chihuly, sharing the story of how he was in a serious car-accident at age 20, losing his sight in one eye, yet he continue his passion for art and was maybe even emboldened, despite the hardship.

The art-making process involved having the girls come up with their “mark,” “doodle,” or “signature,” and to translate that concept into an image, carving into a soft piece of rubber, then carefully transferring the image to paper using colorful paints. All of the girls got busy, really had fun being creative, and each took home their own unique pieces of art, as well as I think a new appreciation for what art is and can mean to each and every one of us.

League & Community Outreach: Northwest Art’s Spring Kids’ Art Studio

by Liz Nixon

It was another rainy Saturday in Seattle, however 15 kids and their parents were having a blast at the Junior League office in Madison Park at the Kids’ Spring Art Studio on March 29, 2014.  The Northwest Art League & Community Outreach committee hosted the event.

The kids, ranging in ages from 3 to 10-years-old, were introduced to several fun pieces from the League’s extensive art collection, including a painting by Dale Chihuly and a lithograph by Mark Tobey. Trained League members acted as docents and discussed the art with the children using an inquiry-based approach. Next, the older children headed downstairs to experiment with print-making using linoleum tiles.  Younger children walked through several activities upstairs, including printing using etched Styrofoam, and monoprints with everyday objects.  Kids left with mounted art in hand, although a few left their pieces in the office for our future kids’ art “gallery!”

KidsStudio_Mar29_10am_Alexis_Grace_Lauren

The bi-yearly Kids’ Art Studio is just one way that the Northwest Art committee reaches League members and our surrounding community. More than 20,000 kids in King County are exposed to the original Northwest art in the League’s collection via curriculum workshops in Seattle Public Schools and docent training for the Bellevue School District.  Northwest Art partnerships allow the committee to host exciting events at the Bellevue Art Museum, Seattle Affordable Art Fair, Mirabella, and the Henry Art Gallery.

 

KidsStudio_Mar29_10am_Alexis_Neu

Whether targeted toward kids or adults, the Northwest Art League & Outreach committee encourages members to check out our next event!

 

 

 

 

Learn more @ http://www.jrleagueseattle.org/?nd=community_nwa

 

TEACH AND BE TAUGHT

Written by Alice G. Foreman, NW Art Committee Member:

Some might wonder at the title of this blog entry. For those currently serving on the Junior League of Seattle’s NW Art Committee, or JLS members who have served on the Committee and been privileged to go into one of the Seattle Public Schools (SPS), the meaning will be very clear. It won’t even be an “aha” moment; they will just smile and agree.

I want to provide a little explanation for those readers who have not enjoyed the experience of in-room teaching, being a docent, or being a member of the NW Art Committee (something I hope all Seattle Leaguer’s do at some point during their JLS career), but enough Committee endorsement, just read on and you will understand.

Before you can teach you must be taught. You must learn about art and our artists.  Being a member of the NW Art committee, you will learn under the watchful eyes of the Committee Chair, Vice Chairs and Committee Advisors. The keys and overarching links in the learning process of the NW Art Committee are two-fold:

  • Halinka Wodzicki, JLS’s art educator and the Museum Education Manager of the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery. The Henry is a fine repository of Northwest Art, a jewel of a show place for fine art as well as place to educate the public about art.
  • Committee continuity and knowledge sharing.

First of all, let us start with Halinka, a teaching star. She is knowledgeable and approachable.  She is the person who will give you the tools, knowledge and understanding of art you will need to be a successful docent yourself. Her lesson plans and insight tell you exactly how to use these tools and share them with students and teachers alike. So, if you choose to go into the schools to teach/docent, you will be taught.

Secondly, NW Art committee continuity and the sharing of knowledge and experiences is ever-present and an immeasurable factor in the success of bringing art into the schools.

When you get into the classroom, there are moments and experiences where your students teach you. They find a color you had not seen in an art piece. They see and share information about the placement of lines and shapes. You will find their excitement contagious. They will let you know what they see, and they are eager to try on your explanations and compare their thinking with yours.

The ultimate success is the knowledge that you have shared information that will help expand students’ horizons in all areas of their learning. It was always a great thrill for my docent partner, Minda Brusse, and I to receive a fine report card as well as appreciation from our school’s principal for the lessons we shared.

What did the students I taught and the experience of being a docent teach me? That a student’s eyes and minds are open to the creative wonder of art and its importance in our world, and that the experience of letting them interact with art and seeing their imaginations at work is a joy.

Henry Art Gallery Lecture

Written by Anbrit Long, NW Art Chair:

The Junior League of Seattle and Henry Art Gallery partnered in March to offer an exciting lecture and training session that focused on the rich history of Northwest Art and artists.  The evening featured presentations by Northwest Art expert and gallery owner John Braseth, and Henry Art Gallery and Junior League docent Tricia Tiano.

Shelly Lambert, John Braseth and Ashley Baerwaldt-President Elect

Event attendees were invited into the Henry Art Gallery’s Reed Gallery Collections Study Center to view 25 works by Northwest artists that John Braseth had pulled for discussion including Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Paul Horiuchi, and others from the Henry’s Collection.  John provided a wealth of knowledge, analysis and anecdotes to the audience on the Pacific Northwest-based artists.  Junior League members were able to compare and contrast the works, complementing the Junior League of Seattle’s collection.  All attendees were able to look at works from the Gallery’s collection up close, and many of the works were “loose” (unframed and/or unmatted) which added to this unique and exciting experience.

Tricia Tiano, the longest running active docent at both the Henry Art Gallery and Junior League of Seattle, led attendees through an inquiry-based docented discussion of the Flashback exhibit in the Henry’s north galleries, comparing works in the Henry’s collection to work in the Junior League’s collection.  Flashback looked at the visual art of 1960’s and 1970’s with a selection of paintings by Northwest artists and work by University of Washington faculty who were breaking with tradition. Tiano discussed University of Washington faculty painters Spencer Moseley and Alden Mason, who were creating Op Art with large colorful canvases, in contrast to the works and palette of other Northwest painters such as Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, and William Cumming.

Silvia Wolfe, Executive Director of the Henry Art Gallery, gave opening remarks and noted the importance of fostering dialogue about the rich history of art in the Northwest.  The Henry has a long-standing tradition of collaborating with the public, community groups, and other art institutions.  She also thanked Halinka Wodzicki, award-winning educator, for her excellent work in art education for both the Henry Art Gallery and the Junior League of Seattle.

This evening was a unique opportunity for the JLS to share in the academic riches of one of the nation’s most innovative and esteemed university art galleries.  Over half of the 100 attendees hailed from outside the Junior League of Seattle, making the evening a true partnership.

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The Henry Art Gallery is committed to taking risks, and fostering dialogue and debate.   The exhibits and programs are designed to stimulate research and teaching at the University of Washington, as well as provide a creative wellspring for artists, students, and educators. To learn more about the Henry Art Gallery and their public offerings, please click here.

The Junior League of Seattle Northwest Art Project develops critical thinking through art. For 51 years, the program has been bringing original works of art by Northwest artists to local classrooms—reaching over 11,000 children and 400 educators last year alone with its inquiry-based critical thinking methods. During its early years, the program was hosted and administered in conjunction with the Henry Art Gallery.  To learn more about the NW Art program, please click here.  To inquire about the NW Art program visiting your school, please write: nwart@jrleagueseattle.org

John Braseth is owner and of Woodside/ Braseth Gallery, the oldest and one of the most respected galleries in the Pacific Northwest.  Since 1961, the Woodside/ Braseth Gallery has been instrumental in fostering an appreciation of Northwest Art by lending and donating works locally and abroad, as well as encouraging our collectors and patron to loan their treasures of Northwest art to local, national, and international exhibits and major museums.  Open to the public, the Gallery regularly mounts exhibitions of work by major figures in Northwest art, drawn from their rich and extensive holdings of art works.  To learn more about the Woodside/ Braseth Gallery, click here.

Tricia Tiano
John Braseth in the Reed Collection.
Attendees listen to gallery talk.

An Evening of Art & Artists

The Junior League of Seattle and Henry Art Gallery are partnering to offer an exciting training session focusing on the rich history of Northwest Art and artists. Artworks by Northwest artists such as Mark Tobey, Morris Graves and others from the Henry’s Collection will be on view in the Reed Collections Study Center for this special evening. This event coincides with the exhibition of paintings on view in the North Galleries, many of which are similar pieces in Junior League of Seattle’s Collection.

This training event will be led by renowned local art expert John Braseth and our own Tricia Tiano.

Space is limited! If you registered and are unable to attend this event, please cancel your reservation in Digital Cheetah at least 2 days before the event.

Note: In addition to registering on Digital Cheetah, the Henry Art Gallery requires tickets for entry (free). Click on this link to register with the Henry Art Gallery: http://www.strangertickets.com/location/3794242/henry-art-gallery

Click “GET” and bring the ticket with you the night of the training.

Henry Art Gallery
Reed Collections Study Center
15th Ave NE & NE 41st St.
Seattle WA
March 8, 2012
6:30 – 8:30pm

Read more about the history of NW Art (Wonderful article written by Dee Dickinson and Tricia Tiano.)

Arlene Lev – JLS Artist Studio Visit

Arlene Lev in her studio.
Last Saturday, local artist Arlene Lev welcomed a small group from the NW Art committee into her home for an afternoon of discussing art. Arlene’s painting Domestic Whatnot (1985) will be part of the Junior League of Seattle’s collection of art traveling through
Eastside school districts this spring, in partnership with the Bellevue Arts Museum.

Arlene spoke about her process when painting. She says that when she works she makes a soup of color and then works out the rhythmic movement.  From that soup, she brings out the image.  “I haven’t a clue what I’ll be doing before I start.”  Her early work is abstract while her more recent work is more representational and uses less color.  Her work is very personal and autobiographical.  She has a studio in her home in Seattle and has her own press to create mono prints.  Committee members were even spontaneously invited to see her studio upstairs.  

Arlene believes that what we are doing when we are looking at a picture is a kind of reading.  However, we must use a vocabulary that we have not been taught.  Artists use different methods to help us stop, look, and read their images.  Lev believes that “the context of a picture is not what you immediately think it is.  It goes beyond what you see to that mysterious “other” that will reveal itself.  The slip of the world as we know it comes from our childhood and from our present.”   

The NW Art committee visits with 2-3 living artists every spring who are represented in the JLS collection.
NW Art Committee visit the studio of Arlene Lev.


An Evening of Art & Conversation about Northwest Art and Artists

The Junior League of Seattle and Henry Art Gallery are partnering to offer an exciting training session focusing on the rich history of Northwest Art and artists.  Artworks by Northwest artists such as Mark Tobey, Morris Graves and others from the Henry’s Collection will be on view in the Reed Collections Study Center for this special evening. This event coincides with the exhibition of paintings on view in the North Galleries, many of which are similar pieces in Junior League of Seattle’s collection.

This training event will be led by renowned local art expert John Braseth and our own Tricia Tiano.  Both have extensive experience and knowledge of Pacific NW Artists.

The Junior League of Seattle Northwest Art Project develops critical thinking through art.  For 51 years, the program has been bringing original works of art by Northwest artists to local classrooms—reaching over 11,000 children and 400 educators last year alone.  During its early years, the program was hosted and administered in conjunction with the Henry Art Gallery.  This training will focus on reflection of art through inquiry-based critical thinking methods.

Space is limited! Members: Click here to register.  If you registered and are unable to attend, please cancel your reservation in Digital Cheetah at least 2 days prior to the event.

Note:  In addition to registering on Digital Cheetah, the Henry Art Gallery requires tickets for entry (free).  In February you will receive an email with online directions to obtain the Henry Art Gallery ticket.

Henry Art Gallery
Reed Collections Study Center
15th Ave NE & NE 41st St.
Seattle WA

March 8, 2012
6:30 – 8:30pm

History of the Northwest Art Project

HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST ART PROJECT

Dee Dickinson and Tricia Tiano

 This is the story of how and why 250,000 children learned to understand and appreciate the visual arts through the Northwest Art Project, the longest lasting project of the Junior League of Seattle.

In the late fifties Sputnik went up and the boom came down on public education, bringing in intense focus on improving math and science skills but also, in the process, cutting budgets in the arts. In fact it seems that since then whenever public school budgets are cut, the arts are the first to go. Yet in every culture since the beginning of human history, the arts have been essential parts of daily life, decorating cave walls and early tools and utensils. The arts have been the high point of every civilization. Furthermore, they have always been essential components of the finest educational systems, not just because they have cultural value, but also because they are languages that all people speak.

Fifty years ago the Junior League’s Community Arts Committee was concerned about the lack of arts education in public schools and created the Northwest Art Project to restore some of what was being lost. School halls were often dingy and on the walls were only faded reproductions here and there. Dee Dickinson, chair of the committee at that time, was aware that the Northwest was an unusually rich source of visual art by local artists who were already gaining worldwide acclaim. She was also painfully aware that there were many children who had never seen an original work of art and had never visited an art museum. There was as, a result, a real void in their education that might be filled by learning to understand and appreciate artistry and have opportunities to do creative work of their own through the guidance of trained docents.

Dee first approached Dr. Richard Fuller, who was at that time the director of the Seattle Art Museum, then located in Volunteer Park. He had never had children of his own, and when he heard about the proposed project he was not pleased with the idea of bringing original works of art into the schools. He also did not appreciate what the project might do to enhance children’s understanding and appreciation of the visual arts, inspiration, and imagination, as well as leading to their becoming future museum-goers.

She next approached Kenneth Callahan, who was wildly enthusiastic about the proposed project. He said, “Come with me.” They went upstairs to a guest room, and he pulled out from under the bed two magnificent paintings that he said he had been saving for a major museum collection. He said, “Take your pick. Let the children come close to see it well. Let them touch it and feel it and smell it. If it gets dirty bring it back to me and I’ll clean it off with a raw potato. Encourage them to look at it carefully and tell what they think it means!!”  That visit launched the project, and Callahan’s magnificent painting, “Crystalline World,” led it off.

A small jury was created composed of professional art experts including Junior League member Virginia Wright, a well-known collector of art. They counseled the committee on which artists to add and they next approached Guy Anderson, Paul Horiuchi, George Tsutakawa, James Washington Jr., Spencer Moseley, and Glen Alps. Later, through a Junior League grant, paintings by Mark Tobey and Morris Graves were added, and a painting by Helmi Juvonen was acquired by sending art materials to the hospital where she was a patient.

The project was planned to be taken into the schools by Junior League docents who were trained in how to make their visits interactive, not just informational, and a number of different trainers, artists, and visits to studios have been involved over the years.  As a result the docents have helped children to see with fresh eyes, looking for hidden meanings, appreciating the colors and designs, leaning about the use of different media, responding with their own views of the artworks, and being inspired to create some works of their own. The visits often become multisensory experiences as children imagine walking into a painting, hearing, feeling, or smelling what it is like inside. At times music is used to blend with the rhythms of a painting, or children are asked to make sounds like those of the animals pictured, or to give a work of art a title of their own, or write a short story or poem in response to what they see. The works of art are left at the schools for several weeks so that further exploration and inspiration may occur.

Initially, the League docents received their training at the Seattle Art Museum, and later at the Henry Art Gallery on the University of Washington campus where they learned about art principles and studied art history. The artworks in the League’s collection were kept at the Henry Gallery when they were not in use in the schools. At that time, the docents themselves would take some of the artworks to the different schools in their own cars. As the collection grew, however, crates were built and storage and transportation were arranged. Later on the trainings and storage moved to the League office in Madison Park. As the collection continued to expand, more space and controlled temperature in the environment were required, so the artworks were transferred to Artech which now cares for them when they are not traveling.

In 1994, a relationship began with the Bellevue Arts Museum, and during that time the Junior League docents offered training on how to present the artworks interactively to teachers and PTA parents on the Eastside. This connection has extended the reach of the project. Also, since 2001, a professional art education consultant, Halinka Wodzicki, has helped enlarge the scope of the docent training. She has written extended learning activity packets that are given to the teachers to help them connect the children’s art experiences to their curriculums.

During the last 50 years, over 500 Junior League docents have been part of the project that has reached over 250,000 children in around 600 schools in King County. In 2004, the Northwest Art Project was displayed at Harborview Medical Center; however, in 2010, the entire collection, which now includes 75 works of art, was displayed for the first time in a museum setting at the Bellevue Arts Museum.

Docents have reported numerous rewarding results of their visits to the schools. During one visit, an autistic child who had never before spoken in class talked eagerly about a painting he had fallen in love with and after that he continued to participate more frequently in class discussions. One student was fascinated by Jack Chevalier’s mixed-media piece, “Lighthouse,” and said she would like to have it for her own because it would help her with her math. In another class one of the students was so inspired that he continued working on his own painting and missed lunch in the process. In an English as a Second Language class, a docent asked the children what they thought the people were anticipating in Joe Max Emminger’s “Two People Waiting.” One student answered “Freedom” which led to a rich discussion of expectations and experiences one has in coming to a new country. Children are so often stimulated that they are still anxious to give their interpretations of the art when the period ends. Children’s eager participation, thoughtful interpretations, artworks, poems, stories, dances, and dramatizations continue to surprise not only the docents but also the children’s own teachers.

Now in its 51st year, the Junior League’s Northwest Art Project includes not only paintings and drawings but also collages, sculptures, glass art, and carvings. It continues to meet the needs that motivated its inception. Public schools still face budget cuts in the arts, and there are often fewer opportunities to develop higher order thinking skills, applied learning, and seeing projects through from beginning to end. These skills are in great demand today as any kind of employment and even daily living require more creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. Recent studies (as reported in the media such as the July17, 2010 issue of Newsweek) have shown that creativity has been declining in our country at the same time as creative thinking is being emphasized in the schools and is rising in the workplaces of other countries. Even the U.S. Patent Office is concerned.

Another current need in education, as diversity increases in school populations, is for a greater variety of teaching and learning styles that teachers often learn through observing the docents’ visits. Many teachers are able to integrate what they have observed into other parts of the curriculum as well, resulting in their students’ greater understanding and ability to apply what they have learned.  The Northwest Art Project continues to seek ways to fill some of today’s needs as well as those in the years ahead to help in the development of “whole” human beings, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

November 2010, the Junior League of Seattle proudly debuted its newest publication, The Art of Discovery. This book is colorful, engaging and instructive whose purpose is to educate, stimulate and inspire young minds through vivid images of art created by significant artists represented in the Junior League of Seattle’s Northwest Art Project and provides the volunteer-based community program with an on-going fundraiser in which profits from the sale of the book will be returned to the community through funding of the Northwest Art Project.