Conversations and discussions about art are key in uniting the art community and drawing together different arenas of public life. On November 29, 2012, the Henry Art Gallery and The Junior League of Seattle hosted “An Evening of Art and Conversation.” This collaborative educational event and reception showcased the current exhibitions at the Henry Art Gallery on the University of Washington Campus, as well as world-renowned Northwest artists.
The Junior League of Seattle is an organization of women committed to volunteering and promoting the community through the arts and education. With the help of the Henry Art Gallery staff, this group of young women facilitated a night of discussion based primarily around conceptual, contemporary art. My guide through one of the current exhibits, “Now Here is also Nowhere: Part 1,” was Josie Roskin—a compelling guide who truly understood the foundation of the exhibit. I had already experienced the exhibit, but Roskin’s questions and introduction of concepts allowed me to see it afresh. I even got to take a piece of candy from Félix González Torres’ Installation Portrait of Dad. Don’t worry—it was legal.
The event, “An Evening of Art and Conversation,” truly fostered an atmosphere of conversation and discussion as we were navigated through the key pieces of the exhibit.
The highlight of the night was the presence of Francine Seders, a brilliant and engaging gallerist and art expert of the Northwest. In the Reed Collection Center, we were presented with brilliant artworks created by Northwest artists, including Juan Alonso, Jacob Lawrence, Michael Spafford, Marita Dingus and Guy Irving Anderson. Francine Seders provided visitors with a candid account of her history as a Seattle gallery owner as well as her genuine opinions on the artworks and artists. Francine Seders provided a look at how the art world views Northwest artists and how any sort of label, whether it be gender, race, or style, may diminish its ultimate value. Her outlook on the art community and its considered norms was refreshing and rare. She did not exaggerate or give the art community the pretentious air it has come to be associated with, but instead it was attainable, accessible.
The Henry Art Gallery’s collaboration with The Junior League of Seattle was a success as it provided a forum for the discussion of art. It was instructive without the stuffiness or structure of a classroom. The Henry Art Gallery, as Seattle’s oldest museum with the most contemporary collection, provides an interesting dichotomy and also one that should be readily taken advantage of. The museum offers regular guided tours every Saturday at noon as well as many interesting artist lectures. Visit the lectures and public events section on Henry Art Gallery website for more information about upcoming events.