Throughout February, Seattle Museum Month sparks motivation by granting downtown hotel guests half-price access to the region’s top museums. There’s something for everyone, from spaces showcasing exquisite creations (Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park) to those celebrating regional progress (Museum of History and Industry) and homegrown talents (Chihuly Garden and Glass).
To help you make the most of Seattle Museum Month, we asked local curators for their insight on the culture in our midst, from the immigrant experience in the Chinatown-International District to the work of contemporary artists.
“One of the meaningful things about the Henry is the scale,” says associate curator Nina Bozicnik. “You can explore all the different galleries in a couple hours and have a rich and deep experience in a non-overwhelming context.” In particular, she points out that the many mediums on display “highlight the variety of ways that contemporary artists are making art.”
Bozicnik also loves the gallery’s prime location on the University of Washington campus, across from the beautiful library and near the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. This situation provides “an opportunity to see a couple different things while making the Henry your main destination.”
Most recently, Bozicnik has found inspiration time and again sitting with Caitlin Berrigan’s work Imaginary Explosions, which explores the relationship between human and geological trauma. This work can be found within the exhibition Between Bodies, a collection of sculpture, augmented reality, video and sound-based works. Don’t miss the complementary programming February 21 through 23, featuring visiting artist Carolina Caycedo.
Although newly arrived curator Hasaan Kirkland admits he’s still discovering his personal highlight reel at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), he’s proud to join “a resource of history, creativity, culture, education and a fertile ground to produce connections and programming or events that build memories and inspire those who attend.”
Currently, the largest gallery houses Bold as Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home, which is a visual experience of famous rocker James Marshall Hendrix, a Seattle native turned international icon. Another gallery, Jeremy Bell: Utopian Blackness, features a display of portraits and conceptual notations about an emerging, evolving artist from nearby Kent, who appears to be growing into an artful voice of the millennial generation.
Exhibit director Jessica Rubenacker recommends that first-time visitors begin with the 45-minute guided Historic Hotel Tour (included with an admission ticket). This walkabout delves into the history of immigration in the International District, including the life of the museum’s namesake, amidst real-life locales. “The tour adds another layer of experience, something unique to Seattle,” she says. “It gives historical context for moving onto the contemporary exhibits.”
Rubenacker says the current exhibit Worlds Beyond Here, a literary and pop cultural celebration of the roles of Asian Pacific Americans in science fiction, is fantastic, and she also highly recommends the Wing’s seasonal food tours. Through March, an International Dumpling Crawl gets going every Friday at 4:30 p.m. “It’s a really great way to get to know the neighborhood,” she says, “and another way to have an immersive experience.”
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