THE TEST: The Tuskegee Project May 26, 2012 - September 30, 2012
This traveling exhibition tells the story of the first African American aviation units in the U.S. military to serve in combat. It examines the major campaigns and operations in which the Tuskegee Airmen of the 99th FS and the 332nd FG participated, the aircraft they used, and the prejudice and racism they faced during a time when many doubted African Americans were fit to serve as fighter pilots. NAAM is excited to announce that The Test also honors members of the local Sam Bruce Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman, Inc.
Xenobia Bailey: The Aesthetics of Funk October 29, 2011 - May 6, 2012
Other Suns: Crochet Wall Mandala
This exhibition featured the work of Seattle native Xenobia Bailey. With a background in industrial design and fiber arts, Bailey’s crochet works explore the ways history, memory, style, spirituality and social performance intersect. Incorporating a vast array of social and visual issues, Bailey’s solo show at NAAM transformed the gallery into a gathering/viewing/participatory space where the domestically charged crochet objects incited conversation and public engagement. Centered on the idea of an African American visual aesthetic, the installation will include large scale wall mandalas, sculptural hat forms and other elements.
Xenobia dedicated this exhibition to her parents, Joseph and Alice (Bobby) Bailey.
INDIVISIBLE African-Native American Lives in the Americas August 20,2011 - October 16, 2011
Photo Details: Julia Jacob with her granddaughter Marilyn Webster Wandrey and grandsons Cliff and Dennis Webster Image courtesy of Marilyn Wandrey
To IndiVisible, NAAM adds the story of Julia Jacob. Though labeled “Negro” at birth, Julia was adopted by Chief Jacob of the Suquamish tribe in the early 1870s. Julia learned the lifeways of the tribe, specifically medicine making, Basket weaving, and speaking Lushootseed, and passed her knowledge to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Today, Julia’s family continues to tell her story and preserve Suquamish traditions. With this exhibition and additional programming, NAAM will tell a lesser known story of cultural blending and probe further into African American Native American cultural intersections in our society, our community and our personal histories.
From the Smithsonian comes an important and enlightening exhibition about the intersection of American Indian and African American people and cultures. IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas explores historical and contemporary stories of peoples and communities whose shared histories are woven into the fabric of American identity, but whose presence has long been invisible to many in the U.S.
Checking Our Pulse October 29, 2010 - September 30, 2011
"The Northwest African American Museum is proud to partner with Swedish Medical Center on an exciting new exhibition, “Checking Our Pulse." The exhibit focuses on health in the local African American community. It will share the stories and achievements of African American medical professionals and probe the realities of critical health issues impacting the Black community in the Puget Sound. Curated by Brian J. Carter. Special thanks to Sherry Williams, Flavia Zuniga-West and Chieko Phillips"
The Corner: 23rd & Union February 9 - July 31, 2011
The Corner is a community storytelling project about change in Seattle’s Central District. From 2009-2010 a monumental public art installation displayed larger-than-life portraits of neighbors on a vacant lot at 23rd and Union. It invited passers-by to call a toll-free number in order to listen to neighbors’ stories and share their own. Hundreds of callers told stories. Now public radio journalist Jenny Asarnow, photographer Inye Wokoma and artists David Rauschenberg & Handsome Murals have re-installed The Corner at NAAM. NAAM is proud to provide a new venue for the installation to be seen and the collected narratives of our community to be heard.
After Hours The Legacy Gallery April 17, 2010 – December 25, 2010
NAAM is excited to offer an exhibition documenting the exciting jazz scene that flourished in the Northwest between 1930 and 1960. Composed of contemporary portraits of jazz-era legends, vintage photographs and historic artifacts, After Hours captures the pulsating atmosphere and entertaining characters of the era. Focusing on the vibrant jazz scenes in three Northwest cities-Portland, Seattle & Spokane- the exhibition will look at the ways in which the clubs, performers, and music shaped the rhythms of each city.
East by Northwest Ethiopian Journeys to the Northwest November 14, 2009 – October 4, 2010
“Over the past several decades the Pacific Northwest has welcomed a growing community of immigrants from Africa’s eastern countries. These newcomers from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya and beyond bring the vitality and traditions of their diverse cultures to cities throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. This exhibition explores only one culture in this wonderful collection of new neighbors.” - Seattle’s Ethiopian community
From restaurant owners to surgeons, teachers to corporate executives, Ethiopian immigrants are contributing their experience and talent to the myriad of professions, social organizations, community groups, political parties, and regional institutions that define American culture. Indelibly marking this region’s cultural landscape, the Ethiopian community has provided a much appreciated infusion of language, cuisine, history, dress, music, sports, art, laughter and life.
Curated by Barbara Earl Thomas, Brian J. Carter and the Ethiopian Community Association. Special thanks to Shelley Young.
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School Student Art Show Jazz and Blues in Art
The Café Gallery December 2009 - January 2010
Students from Thurgood Marshall Elementary display their works of art inspired by jazz and blues music. Over 60 pieces of student artwork are featured including pastel drawings and collograph prints. Colorful drawings of instruments convey the energy of Jazz music and prints of musicians playing their music are vibrantly depicted. For inspiration, the students listened to the music of jazz legend Miles Davis while creating their artwork. Jazz and Blues in Art is on display through January.
Tacoma’s Civil Rights Struggle: African Americans Leading the Way The Legacy Gallery February 5 – December 20, 2009
This timely exhibition explores the trials and tribulations of the Civil Rights movement in Washington State's city of Tacoma and features more than 100 artifacts including reports, photographs, articles and other artifacts, many not seen in more than half a century. The exhibit focuses on the years from 1960-72, although it explores history beginning at the end of World War II when Tacoma’s African American population grew by nearly 400%. In the years following the war, Tacoma’s Civil Rights movement concentrated on obtaining equal rights and the exhibit provides insight into housing issues , local activism and events leading up to passage of the Congressional Equal Rights Amendment in 1972. The display concludes with a look at how the equal rights effort continues today. This traveling exhibition was organized by the Washington State History Museum and the Tacoma Civil Rights Project.
This traveling exhibit was originally organized by the Tacoma Civil Rights Project and the Washington State History Museum, original curators Barbara Johns and Harold Moss.
Stories That Cover Us March 18, 2009 through October 4, 2009
In this exhibition, the women of the Pacific Northwest African American Quilters bravely gave us access to their lives- brimming with memories, hopes, joys, milestones, losses, passions and accomplishments. Though the quilts reflect the lives these particular women had lived, their stories were so familiar and inviting as to convince us they spoke on our behalf as well. The stories woven into these quilts tell of an African American community living at this particular time in history, in this particular place.
Patricia Batiste-Brown Silhouettes of My People, 2008
Cotton and mixed media
Machine pieced and quilted
Curated by Brian J. Carter, Deputy Director. Special thanks to Barbara Johns, Gwen Maxwell-Williams, Jawara O'Connor.
Constellation of Shadows and Leaves (2006-2007) The Café Gallery February 18, 2009 through August 2, 2009
NAAM was proud to exhibit five mixed-media collage works of local artist Carletta Carrington Wilson. These five pieces were part of a larger fourteen work exhibition centered around historic maps of Africa. The works were comprised of textiles, jewelry, found art, paper and paint. In Ms. Wilson’s own words, “My work speaks of cloth and its constellations. How cloth covers the bodies of this world, wraps them, unravels in mysteries this language of artifice and mimicry of the mischief found in skin.”
The Northwest Gallery March 8, 2008 thru February 8, 2009
Making a Life, Creating a World: Jacob Lawrence and James W. Washington Jr.
The opening exhibit in the Northwest Gallery featured the work and lives of two artists who profoundly reshaped our region’s cultural landscape, Jacob Lawrence and James W. Washington Jr. This exhibition was as personal as any story that attempts to relate the meaning of a life to a community. The artwork and objects here revealed the interests and passions of two artists who were central in helping us understand the power of creativity. They lived among us not as mythic characters but as neighbors and friends and they left human tracks.
Migrating to Bremerton, Washington from rural Mississippi in 1940, Washington’s paintings and sculptures convey security and freedom, two qualities difficult to attain, particularly for a Black person who grew up and came of age in the Jim Crow South. Washington transformed the barriers of color into opportunities for inspiration as seen in his passionately creative paintings and sculptures. Drawing inspiration from his contemporaries, including George Tsutakawa, Mark Tobey, Guy Anderson, and others. Washington used symbols drawn from the natural world around him to inform his sculptures, a creative approach that was a hallmark of the Northwest School. At the same time, Washington exposed this artistic collective to his enduring commitment to social justice, deeply spiritual nature and belief in the universality of art and all life.
Jacob Lawrence’s decision to leave New York was spurred by an offer of tenure from the University of Washington’s Art Department in 1971. This overture came at time when the opportunity and stability offered by tenure were generally withheld from African American professors. In a show of appreciation, Lawrence introduced the Pacific Northwest to his unique narrative storytelling style of painting. It was a style honed under the informal tutelage of Claude McKay, Charles Alston and Augusta Savage, and which aptly captures the story of movement, struggle and survival central to the African American experience. Throughout his life, Jacob Lawrence committed himself to representing both the harsh realities and the successes of African Americans. He constantly altered his expressive compositions in response to changing subjects and emotional situations.
Curated by Barbara Earl Thomas, Deputy Director/Curator. Special thanks to Minnie Collins, Barbara Johns and Rachel Lodge; Tim Detweiler, Executive Director of the James W. Washington, Jr. and Janie Rogella Washington Foundation; Cath Carine and Susan Noyes Platt; and The Jacob and Gwen Knight Lawrence Foundation.
YOUTH DOCENT/CURATOR PROGRAM February 12 – August 31, 2008 Self Portraits
Javoen Byrd Photo by Deni Luna
In partnership with the Seattle Youth Employment Program, NAAM is proud to present its first annual Youth Docent/Curator exhibition- Self Portraits. Six local high school students came together at NAAM to be introduced to the history, philosophy, forms and practices of museum work. This pilot program in visual learning was designed to inspire a small group of students to engage with the Museum as a safe and nurturing gathering-place to explore their history, culture and identity. Both talented and dedicated, this group of teens designed and mounted an inspirational exhibit that shares the stories of their personal experiences. This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to engage with and better understand the lives of our youth: their dreams, accomplishments, passions, hopes and concerns. This exhibition will run from July 4, 2008-August 31, 2008. The students will provide guided tours of the Museum’s galleries, as well as their own exhibits, serving visitors as docents through the month of July.