Seattle – We Are Of The Earth, Too

As Earth Day arises, in Seattle there is an especially poignant reminder of Chief Sealth’s (“Seattle’s”) clarion call about our stewardship of our Mother Earth — in remembering that we are to care for her, all her creatures and that’s including our own species.

The Frye Art Museum’s has 2 current exhibitions which powerfully illuminate ways we think of one another and many of us are so ready to pigeon-hole individuals and whole classes of people. See what happens when they find their Power and break away from social stereotypes or bring their Wisdom of harsh experiences to us, to share.

The art community in general and certain artists in particular are very aware of the creative genius that all of us harbor, and are empathetic to those whose voices have been silenced and need to be released!

So, two exhibitions at the Frye will help change your world in profound ways by looking at 2 social art programs that give voice to those you have not met, and hopes that you will change perceptions and get down to the hard work of helping them, yourself.

___ First, is the historical retrospective of Tim Rollins and his K.O.S. (Kids of Survival) program which began in a public school in the South Bronx, New York City in 1981 and has become a prototype of significance.

As a classroom teacher, at that time, Tim developed a curriculum which incorporated art-making along with reading and writing lessons. These were for students classified as academically or emotionally “at risk.”

Rollins told his students on that very first day, “Today we are going to make art, but we are also going to make history.” Asked what he meant by “making history,” Rollins said:

“To dare to make history when you are young, when you are a minority, when you are working, or nonworking class, when you are voiceless in society, takes courage. Where we came from, just surviving is ‘making history.’ So many others, in the same situations, have not survived, physically, psychologically, spiritually, or socially. We were making our own history. We weren’t going to accept history as something given to us.”

By 1986, Rollins and K.O.S. had their first exhibition at Jay Gorney Modern Art, which represented them until they moved to Mary Boone Gallery in 1991. Importantly, Rollins and K.O.S.’s decision to exhibit their art in galleries and museums signaled a seminal turning point: i.e. they began to distinguish themselves from other teacher-student collaborations by demanding that their work be engaged first as fine art .

Between the mid-1980s and early 1990s, Rollins and K.O.S. participated in 2 Whitney Museum of American Art’s Biennials (1985, 1991); Documenta in Kassel, Germany (1987); the Venice Biennale (1988); the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1988), and had solo shows at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1988); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1988); the Dia Art Foundation, New York (1989); the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford (1990); the Museum für Gegenwärtskunst Basel, Switzerland (1990); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1990); and the Smthsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (1992). Now, they are in Seattle.

Today there are K.O.S. programs in Philadelphia, Memphis, San Francisco, and New York City.

Come see more about this amazing program and its generations of kids who survived and flourished because they found their powerful voice through Art. Learn more at: Frye Art Museum – Tim Rollins and K.O.S.

___ The second current exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle is home-grown. This exhibit is called “Public Belongings” Initiated by the Frye in collaboration with Path with Art, an organization that works with formerly homeless adults, Public Belongings includes the work of ten adults who worked together in the Frye Art Studio over a period of twelve weeks with Path with Art teaching artists Regan Doody and Adam Doody.

With unemployment numbers rising and foreclosure looming for millions more families, as well as the millions for whom it has already occurred, this view from the homeless people of the streets is poignant and precipitous for many of us. Maybe it will help us rise to use our Voices to make positive Change happen.

The 10 participants describe and document their view of Seattle from the perspective of life on the street. They use photographs, collaged maps, video and words.

Path with Art is an organization which recognizes the creative potential in all of us and understands its power to heal and nurture in times of crisis.

Daily, the organization honors those who have survived the trauma of homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless through offering opportunities to engage with supportive artistic communities. This is done in the sincere, pragmatic belief that art has the power to heal hearts and to foster the personal growth necessary to maintain a self-sufficient and stable life. The exhibition ends May 31, 2010. Learn more at: Path with Art, Seattle

Frye Art Museum,
Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Thursday 10:00am-8:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm
01/23/2010 through 05/31/2010
Admission: Free Admission
Presented at: Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue, Seattle
(206) 622-9250
Seattle – Frye Art Museum

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