James Washington

(American, born 1911, died 2000)

Late artist James Washington Jr. was born in Mississippi during the Jim Crow era of segregation and began his artistic career organizing an exhibition of black artists sponsored by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. He and his wife moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1944, where he studied with celebrated Seattle painter Mark Tobey. Informed by a deep spirituality, his paintings and sculptures addressed issues of racism, identity, and truth. An important figure in the Seattle artistic community for decades, he was the subject of several major museum retrospectives at the Frye Art Museum, the Bellevue Arts Museum and the Washington State History Museum. He was honored with a Washington State Governor's Arts and Heritage Award in 1970.