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Cascadia Art Museum

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Cascadia Art Museum


  • Against the Moon: The Art of John Matsudaira

    May 13 - August 28, 2016

    Born Takehisa Matsudaira in Seattle, he was educated in Kanazawa, Japan and returned to Seattle in 1935. While he and his family were detained in the Minidoka Internment Camp, John enlisted in the US Army and served in the legendary 442nd Infantry Regiment, the most decorated military unit in US history. After suffering life threatening injuries during the war, Matsudaira returned to Seattle and enrolled in the Burnley School, studying painting with Jacob Elshin and Nick Damascus. He quickly developed an important regional reputation and worked informally with other local Nisei artists such as Paul Horiuchi, George Tsutakawa and Kenjiro Nomura all of whom were represented by Zoe Dusanne, one of Seattle's most important and progressive early art galleries.

     Featured were works from the 1940's through the 1970's, including paintings, prints and watercolors depicting his figurative and later abstract styles.

  • Northwest Photography at Mid-Century

    May 13 - August 28, 2016

    Washington State has been the home for many artistic photographers who achieved national and international recognition during their lifetimes. This exhibition reintroduced the public to the works of several artists who worked during the period of 1940-1970.  Some of the photographers included twin sisters Dorothy Smith (1905-1982) and Charlotte Smith (1905-1999); Yoshio Noma (1914-2005); Chao-Chen Yang (1909-1969); Marjorie Duryee (1913-1992); Austin W. Seth (1915-2006) and several others.

  • Pioneers and Prophets: Northwest Modern Art Reconsidered

    September 12, 2015 - August 21, 2016

    This one year exhibition presented an overview of key figures in our regional art history beginning in the mid-19th century and leading into the modern movement. Since our unique visual culture has not yet been fully documented in print, we presented a variety of paintings and sculpture that offered an introduction to the mission of our museum and begin the process of defining the breadth and accomplishments of our leading early artists. Familiar names such as Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, and Mark Tobey share space with artists of no less importance, many of whom, because of gender or social bias, have not been presented with the same regularity in recent decades. It is our intention to celebrate and recognize all of their contributions and integrate them more fully into the local historical canon. These artists would include John Davidson Butler, Paul Morgan Gustin, Yvonne Twining Humber, Helen Loggie, Kenjiro Nomura, Fokko Tadama, and others.

  • Looking Back, Moving Forward:  A Centennial Tribute to Nellie Cornish & the Cornish College of the Arts  

    January 14 - May 1, 2016

    “She was a small, round, plump little lady with the dynamism of a rocket, and we were all terrified of her, terrified of her tongue and in a way, terrified of her dream”. 

    - Martha Graham

    Nellie Centennial Cornish (1876-1956)

    Just as her middle name celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United States, Cascadia Art Museum pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of the school that she founded and which bears her name, The Cornish College of the Arts.

    “Miss Aunt Nellie” as she was affectionately known, was arguably the most important figure in Washington State’s cultural history.

    Initially trained as a pianist and in music education, Cornish taught privately in her own studio and at the University of Washington before founding the Cornish School in 1914. She brought some of the finest artists in the world to perform or teach at Cornish, initiating the cross-disciplinary and collaborative elements that have survived to this day.

    We are presenting highlights from Nellie Cornish’s legacy whose broad international reach influenced the fields of Dance, Music, Visual Arts and Performance.

    Being the first large-scale tribute to Ms. Cornish and the Cornish College of the Arts, our exhibition tells the story of the early years of Cornish through paintings, prints, sculpture, photography and video.

    Drawing from several important sources, including Cornish’s own archive, the exhibition features materials that have never been seen by the public.

    From the estate of Mary Ann Wells, founder of the dance department in 1916, we are displaying photographs and related materials that reflect the early dance origins of the school, resulting in significant critical acclaim for both students and faculty. Wells was the most important proponant of modern dance in the region and her influence extended internationally through her most noted pupil, Robert Joffrey who attended Cornish in the mid- 1940’s.  Several prominent dance instructors who became icons of modern dance also taught at the school including Adolph Bolm, Michio Ito, and Martha Graham. Key visual artists associated with the early years include photographer Wayne Albee who documented most of the school’s productions through his internationally renowned pictorialist photography. Visual artist Mark Tobey was an important figure in the early years of the school. Some of his artwork includes portraits of faculty as well as a series of stage and costume designs recently uncovered through the estate of drama department figures, Burton and Florence Bean James. Tobey himself performed in several dramatic plays at the school as seen through vintage production photographs by Albee. Tobey also created four large nude contour drawings of students in Martha Graham’s classes at Cornish in 1933.

    Works by other well-known visual artists who taught or studied at Cornish include painters Louise Crow, James Edward Peck, Frank Okada as well as two rare watercolors by WWII combat artist and Cornish faculty member, Mitchell Jamieson on loan from the U.S. Navy Collection.

    In the early years, puppetry was a very popular medium for artistic performance throughout the world and especially at Cornish. Student and later faculty member

     R. Bruce Inverarity, produced a Surrealist Sci-fi puppet production titled “Z-739” performed in the late 1920’s. The original puppets, made from found objects have been recently located by the Northwest Puppet Center and are being displayed publicly for the first time along with two puppets by the region’s beloved iconoclast, Helmi Juvonen.

    Artist Ebba Rapp founded the sculpture department at Cornish in the mid-1930’s and worked with Walter Reese to bring printmaking into the art department as well. Two of Rapp’s large-scale oil paintings of the late 1930’s utilized two students from the dance department as models who would later become important figures in modern dance; Syvilla Fort and Merce Cunningham.

    During research for the exhibition, a treasure trove of materials from the estate of dancer Karen Irvin came to light. The most important being a number of filmed performances by the Cornish Ballet dating from the 1950’s and 60’s. Irvin and her partner Mea Hartman along with artist Malcolm Roberts were the driving forces of mid-century dance at Cornish. Irvin was choreographer while Hartman and Roberts created stage sets, costumes and posters for the productions for over a decade. The films have been digitized by the University of Washington’s Special Collections and are playing continuously during the run of the exhibition.

    The exhibition closes with an important painting by recent Cornish alumna, Aleah Chapin. The work entitled “Auntie” won the distinguished BP Portrait Award in 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Chapin is the first female American artist to win the prestigious award. This is the first time the painting has been shown in the Northwest.

  • Christmas Cards by Northwest Artists: 1909-1990  

    November 12 through January 10, 2016

    For most of the 20th century, many regional artists created original works of art to send to their fellow artists, friends and families to celebrate the Holiday Season. The cards were created using relief printmaking such as woodcut and linoleum blocks as well as watercolor, oil, collage and other materials.

    Our exhibition included examples by many familiar figures as well as some creative individuals now forgotten by time. The earliest card was a 1909 watercolor by John Davidson Butler (1890-1976), given to his parents the same year that he exhibited his paintings at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. This card stands in sharp contrast to the unconventional and somewhat bizarre foldout produced by the iconoclastic Seattle architect Robert Reichert (1921-1996) nearly fifty years later. Many of the cards reflected the era in which they were created. Most notable is the 1952 Charles W. Smith (1922-2009) image of a tired Santa, resting in a Hardoy chair with a Calder-like mobile hanging above.

    The artists often included elements from their chosen fields. These can be seen in the whimsical cards of jewelry designer Coralynn Pence (1909- 1994) and the wood veneer cards of furniture designer/craftsman, Evert Sodergren (1920-2013).

    George Tsutakawa (1910-1997) tenderly documented his growing family over the years while Orre Nobles (1894-1967) produced extraordinary images with the assistance of his students from Ballard High School.

    Some of the most striking cards were created by William J.C. Klamm (1888-1976) who utilized the exacting medium of wood-engraving to produce visually appealing images for over five decades.

  • A Fluid Tradition- Northwest Watercolor Society at 75 

    September 12, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

    Our inaugural exhibition presented many of the original paintings included in the 2015 University of Washington Press publication documenting the history of this important and influential arts organization. Most of these paintings had not been seen by the public for many decades, if ever. The exhibition concentrated on prominent early members of NWWS active during the formative decades of  1940 through the 1970's. We assembled a unique variety of works that reflect  the wide range and diverse approaches to the medium. Artists included Jess Cauthorn, Raymond Hill, Z. Vanessa Helder, Dorothy Dolph Jensen, Alden Mason, George Tsutakawa and many others.



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190 Sunset Ave. #E
Edmonds, WA 98020

(425) 336-4809

To book a tour or inquire about event space, email


Adults $10
Seniors, Youth 18 and under $7
Children 4 and under, free.
Art Walk Edmonds, free


Wed - Sun: 11am – 6pm

Art Walk Edmonds: Third Thursday of the Month, 5–8 pm


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