Our Special Connection to Artist Jacob Lawrence

Renowned artist Jacob Lawrence, whose paintings will be the centerpiece of a brand-new exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum opening on March 5, holds a significant place in Northwest School’s history.

Lawrence was on The Northwest School’s Board of Directors when Northwest opened in 1980 and later served on the advisory board alongside his wife and artist Gwendolyn Knight during the mid-1980s. He was a guest lecturer on the Harlem Renaissance in our Humanities classes in the early 1980s, and he generously chose the painting “Curtain Time” from his Games series for Northwest School’s 20th-anniversary celebration poster.

“Jacob represented the great depth of Black experience and culture that we assumed would be important to introduce all of our students to from the get-go,” recalls NWS Co-founder Mark Terry. “He was a genuinely wonderful human being and, to say the least, we were honored he saw something good enough in The Northwest School project that he was glad to be associated with us.”

Lawrence is a well-known Black artist from the modern era, who gained national recognition for his 60-panel The Migration Series. The panels are now shared between the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

Seattle Art Museum’s new special exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle, will reunite Jacob’s 30-panel series Struggle: From the History of the American People for the first time since 1958.

Read more about the exhibit here.