We sat down with Minda Brusse, Chairperson of the Northwest Art Committee of the Junior League of Seattle. We’re proud to have the Junior League working with us as our Children’s Programming Partner! Be sure to bring your little artist to The Art of Discovery activities on Saturday, November 9 and Sunday, November 10 at 11:30am.
Can you tell us a bit about the Northwest Art Project? How did you get involved?
The Northwest Art Project is one of many community programs of the Junior League of Seattle, an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
The Project uses art to foster critical thinking, communication, and creativity through inquiry-based teaching and original works of art. More than 250,000 King County residents have experienced our Project in public schools, our 50th Anniversary Bellevue Arts Museum exhibition, and at community events.
When arts education funding cuts began in the early 1960s, one of our members was inspired to bring original works of art by Northwest artists into public schools. She approached well-known Northwest painter Kenneth Callahan who donated his painting, “Crystalline World,” to begin our effort. The Collection now includes over 80 art pieces from other accomplished Pacific Northwest artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Joan Stuart Ross, Marita Dingus, Mark Tobey, and Dale Chihuly. Our Northwest Art Jury of art professionals, like local gallery owner Greg Kucera and art advisor Margery Aronson, lend their expertise to help manage our Collection.
Funding for arts education continues to be at risk, and our mission of “Igniting Minds Through Art” is as relevant today as it was in 1960. Our founding member, Dee Dickinson, continues to inspire committee members to be passionate arts education advocates in the community.
As an interested and new Junior League member, I requested committee work in Northwest Art. The professionally-led art training I received has enabled me to docent our art works in elementary schools and community events. It’s a joy to be present as kids share profound observations, create poetry, and get inspired. It inspires me!
What sort of programs are offered within the community? What do you have planned for AAF?
Each year, the Northwest Art Project trains more than 70 docents on our art curriculum and specific art pieces in preparation to receive an exhibit of 8-10 art pieces at a Seattle or Eastside elementary school. Every three weeks, the art is re-crated and back on the move to another school! We reach over 22,000 individuals by visiting approximately 40 schools and participating in community programs and art events.
We are excited to be bringing a few pieces from our Collection to the Affordable Art Fair. Our children’s workshops at the Affordable Art Fair will last about an hour and begin with a group discussion led by our trained docents. Starting with a lively discussion about the art pieces, we will launch into hands-on art projects that relate back to the pieces. Kids will have the opportunity to take their projects with them when they leave.
If we’re interested in helping out, how can we get involved?
There are many ways to support the Northwest Art Project. For those interested in bringing the Northwest Art Project to your local public school, contact us at email@example.com. We can let you know our calendar of docent trainings, school sign-ups, and more.
To learn more about membership in the Junior League of Seattle, visit our website at http://www.jrleagueseattle.org. If you are seeking to develop community leadership skills, the Junior League of Seattle might be a wonderful opportunity. Multiple information sessions are held each spring.
If you would like to have your artwork considered for donation to the Collection, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our NW Art Jury evaluates pieces at several points during the year.
If your company is interested in contributions to or sponsorships for the Northwest Art Project, contact email@example.com for a Sponsorship Packet. We offer recognition opportunities, and your support has a direct impact on art education in King County schools.