When it comes to exceptional Cultural Arts experiences in the Pacific Northwest what comes to mind? Most of us have our favorite local galleries and museums which are regularly frequented in during gallery openings, art walks, and new curated exhibitions – all in support of our favorite local and regional artists and collectors of art. But galleries and arts centers further afield require more of an investment in travel time and resources. Fortuitously, Skagit is almost directly between two major centers of artistic abundance, so whether your quest for the arts takes you north to Vancouver, BC, or south to Seattle, your options to experience the breadth of northwest-centric arts are without limits.
Art in The Emerald City… There is simply no way to experience all that Seattle offers the world in the way of Cultural Arts. Venues like On The Boards, The Paramount, 5th Ave Theatre, and Pacific Northwest Ballet attract celebrated performers who provide us with an important heart-mind connection to the outside world.
Seattle’s iconic music venues like Triple Door, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, and Benaroya Hall set the stage for legendary live music, world class entertainment, and internationally acclaimed symphony. And when it comes to Fine Art collections presented by galleries and museums, along with a growing number of retail and dining destinations, our region paints a wide and colorful picture with many exceptional venues.
Museums are the new cool… Some might say the Seattle Art Museum, the MoPOP (Museum of POP Culture), and certainly the Henry Gallery are local favorites. And while those venues are worth the price of admission, the list of public and private galleries and regional museums is actually quite long, extremely colorful, respectfully diverse, and most wonderfully – ever-changing. Among them is the historic Frye Art Gallery.
International collectors, Charles and Emma Frye began sharing their extensive private collection of art with the world in the mid-nineteen hundred’s when they broke ground on their gallery adjoining their home in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. The original Frye Art Gallery and the gallery of collector Horace C. Henry (which opened a few years later) was born out of a letter of rejection from the Seattle Arts Society written to the Frye’s and Henry’s declining their support of a proposal to establish a museum in Volunteer Park.
Today, The Frye Art Gallery is a contemporary urban arts destination featuring the Frye family legacy collection presented in the Frye Salon. The salon-style of hanging art fills the room from floor to ceiling, as opposed to museum-style which is mostly straight across at eye level. The Frye Salon features an impressive body of work representing more than 150 paintings most of which represent works by eminent German-born painters. In total the works are uniquely exceptional providing inspiration to countless burgeoning artists and patrons. But if portraits and landscapes aren’t what inspires you, Frye Art Museum also exhibits curated bodies of work representing a range of artistic expressionism by internally awarded painters, sculptors, fiber artists, architects, designers, and photographers – to name a few.
During my most recent visit, I had the pleasure of seeing the works of Seattle-based artist Ko Kirk Yamahira. Yamahira deconstructs his paintings by removing individual threads from the weave of the canvas, turning surface into form. This exhibition showcased the artist’s recent body of work, including several pieces made just for this show representing concepts of identity, expression of duality, and “the relativity of perception”.
The current featured exhibit at the Frye is “Towards Impressionism”. As you might guess, the highlights feature the works of landscape painters like Corot and Monet, and the work of graduates from institutes like Barbizon and Honfleur along with over forty works from the extraordinary collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Reims. To be honest, I have yet to experience this one. But the show runs through the first week of August, so a return visit is on my list of Summer arts adventures. Perhaps I’ll see you there!
Current and upcoming exhibits: http://fryemuseum.org/current_exhibitions/.
Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104
About the author…
This contribution to The SAM Project is by founder and publisher, Sandra Benton.
For more information about becoming a contributor to the Skagit Art Music team, contact Sandra at SkagitArtMusic@gmail.com.