Visual Art Capital Idea
posted by June 6 at 11:52 AMon
Going Home, 1946
Rep. Jim McDermott has introduced legislation to name the University District post office after the late artist Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence lived near UW, where he taught, for nearly 30 years before his death in 2000.
It makes me wonder: There are oodles of donor names all over this city, but what about spaces named after artists? I can’t think of one.
Lawrence nearly ended up a postal worker, it turns out, according to Sharon Fitzgerald, writing for American Visions.
Jacob Lawrence often describes Augusta Savage—a leader both among artists and within the community—as the person who stepped in and made his later success possible. The occasional sales of his paintings to friends, local teachers and librarians were not sustaining him, and his mother had started urging him to take a job in the post office, one of the few secure positions available to blacks. When Savage learned of these difficulties, she took him to the WPA Federal Art Project and had him signed on for the easel project. With the standard weekly salary of $23.80, he was at last a professional artist.
“If Augusta Savage hadn’t insisted on getting me onto the project, I don’t think I ever would have become an artist,” Lawrence has stated. “I’d be doing a menial job somewhere. It was a real turning point for me.”
The legislation has been filed, but no date has been set yet for consideration in the House of Representatives. Co-sponsors include every member of the House from Washington.