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Friday, June 6, 2008

Capital Idea

posted by on June 6 at 11:52 AM

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.

RSS icon Comments


Here, here!

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 6, 2008 12:06 PM

Considering that Lawrence is one of the very few Washington painters I like a lot, I'm excited to see this happen.

Posted by Fnarf | June 6, 2008 12:11 PM

Why not name it after one of our many gay activists instead?

I am so bored with local building and park names here ... other than Cal Anderson Park.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 6, 2008 12:34 PM

Great idea.

I was disappointed last year when they renamed Decatur Elementary/AE2 to Thornton Creek Elementary. Seems like that was a lost opportunity to honor any number of deserving individuals, e.g. Jacob Lawrence or Edwin Pratt.

Posted by I Got Nuthin' | June 6, 2008 12:55 PM

I heart Jacob Lawrence. I did a report on him in elementary school and have loved his art ever since. I think he deserves a lot more than a post office.

Posted by Lobot | June 6, 2008 12:57 PM

he bores me utterly, but i like the idea. better than named after a corporation or a warmongering douche.

Posted by max solomon | June 6, 2008 12:59 PM

That's funny; I went to Warmongering Douche Junior High.

Posted by Fnarf | June 6, 2008 1:50 PM

Finding a way to make the Jacob Elshin murals there accessible might be nice, too, but I'll settle for the name.

Posted by bronkitis | June 6, 2008 2:35 PM

You mean like the murals along N 50th near the Woodland Park Zoo that were tagged and the "graffiti patrol" then covered up with grey paint, that had been there for 50 years?

You'll have better luck with keeping the name.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 6, 2008 2:42 PM

I'd be postal all over just like {(t)loren- ence} if I wasn't so intrigued by

Lost Divas
Assouline Publishing 2005
Andre' Tubeuf

Posted by daniel bennett kieneker | June 6, 2008 5:52 PM

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