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The Skanner It's Easy
By The Skanner News
Published: 31 January 2007

An exhibition of sculpture by 20th century African American artist James W. Washington Jr. will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout February in the City Hall Gallery, 600 Fourth Ave.
The exhibit features 14 sculptures, a dozen photographs of the artist at work and four large text panels giving context to the work of Washington, who lived from 1911 to 2000.
Washington's work expresses the unity of humankind and nature, with symbols derived from religion, freemasonry and the animal world.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Dr. James W. Washington Jr. and Janie Regella Washington Foundation.
Originally from rural Mississippi, Washington moved to Seattle to work as a civilian electrician for the Navy and settled in the Central District. In the 1950s, he gained international recognition as a member of the "Northwest School" of artists for his paintings and prints. As an advocate and spokesman for civil rights, many of Washington's early paintings reflected his belief in social justice.
Washington began working as a sculptor in the 1950s after finding a stone that "called" to him during a trip to Mexico. His work in stone sculptures marked a turning point in his career. Gallery exhibitions and many public commissions allowed him to leave his civil-service job and become a full-time artist in 1960. Over the next 40 years of his career, Washington continued to sculpt, teach, exhibit and lecture.
Over the last decade, the foundation has worked to not only share and promote Washington's artwork, but also his Central District home and extensive archives, library and artifact collections. As the Central District changes, the foundation strives to continue the legacy of the Washington's leadership in order to interpret and preserve an important part of Seattle's heritage represented by the African American community.
For more information, call 206-684-7171.

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