Untitled, circa 1970, patinated sheet metal. From the collection of the Charles W. Smith family.

Untitled, circa 1970, patinated sheet metal. From the collection of the Charles W. Smith family.

Cascadia reopens with exhibition of noted sculptor’s work

Charles W. Smith was an influential and highly regarded artist who also helped design Honda’s first car sold in the U.S.

EDMONDS — Shuttered since mid-November, the Cascadia Art Museum reopens today with a new exhibition that continues its mission of spotlighting important Northwest artists of the 20th century.

“Cascadia Art Museum is extremely happy to reopen and welcome back art lovers in a safe and secure environment,” museum curator David Martin said. “We are following all guidelines as instructed by the governor.”

The new exhibit, “The Sculpture of Charles W. Smith,” features a well-known Seattle sculptor whose worked shifted from an early focus on biomorphic abstractions of the human form to more condensed set of geometric shapes later in his career, Martin said.

“Professor Smith was an influential and highly regarded sculptor and instructor at the University of Washington for over 40 years,” Martin said. “The collection comes from the artist’s family, and most pieces have never been seen by the public.”

Originally from Woodside, New York, Smith (1922-2009) took a degree in industrial design at the American Art School and Pratt Institute in 1948. He later earned a degree in sculpture at the University of Washington, where he also taught design and drawing.

His work was consistently exhibited in regional shows and won several awards in the 1950s, including recognition as one of Time magazine’s “Newsmakers of Tomorrow” in 1953.

In 1963, he won a Ford Foundation grant and moved with his family to Japan to study traditional Japanese sculpture techniques.

Smith also was a design consultant for Honda in designing their first car for the Western market, the Honda N600, a tiny sedan that went on sale in the U.S. in 1969. Smith later recalled that he spent most of his time imploring Honda to “make it bigger.” He remained active in industrial design through his career.

By the early 1970s, Smith’s style evolved to a more condensed set of geometric shapes. The flattened and folded circles and rectangles combined to create interlocking three-dimensional sculptures and fountains. He began working with industrial metals and painted steel and produced numerous commission-based sculptures.

Notable design commissions include Temple De Hirsch Sinai and the Large sculpture for the Kennedy Memorial Library at Eastern Washington University. One of his most prominent public works is “Park Sculpture” at Seattle Central Community College. In the last decade of his life, he created wood carvings, many based on Northwest Native designs.

With the reopening, Cascadia is extending three exhibitions: “Dreaming Forms: The Art of Leo Kenney,” “Stolen Moments: The Photography of Shedrich Williames,” and “Gifts and Promised Gifts to the Museum’s Permanent Collection.” The three exhibits will run through May 23.

For Cascadia, the pandemic closures have been a reminder that the virtual is not a completely satisfactory substitute for the authentic.

“During these difficult times, we have produced several online videos and presentations, but there is nothing that can replace viewing original works of art in person,” Martin said. “We anxiously await (the public’s) return to view the best of Northwest art, and to share in the rediscovery of our region’s cultural history.”

If you go

Cascadia Art Museum, 190 Sunset Ave. S., is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Admission for members and students is free, adults $10, military and seniors $7, and families (two adults and up to three children) $25. Free during Art Walk Edmonds, third Thursdays, 5 to 8 p.m. More at 425-336-4809 or www.cascadiaartmuseum.org.

Free virtual events

Cascadia Art Museum plans two free virtual events in February.

• “Valentine’s Trivia Night” is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. Feb. 12, and is the first event in the museum’s new Art After Hours program. Participants can test their knowledge of Valentine’s Day and art in a friendly and fun competition. Participants also can purchase a hibiscus gimlet cocktail to-go from Scratch Distillery, specially made for this event.

• Cascadia’s next Family Art Workshop is a “Self-Love/Self-Portrait” workshop set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 27. Join Cynthia Gahan from Heart Art Healing virtually for a step-by-step self-portrait drawing experience.

Register for both events at www.cascadiaartmuseum.org/events-grid.

Talk to us

More in Life

Cinderella_Red.jpg: Red Riding Hood (Katelynn Carlson) gets advice from Cinderella (Grace Helmcke) in Red Curtain’s production of Into the Woods, running May 20-June 5 at the Red Curtain Arts Center, 9315 State Ave. in Marysville.
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Marysville troupe stages a Stephen Sondheim musical masterpiece. Jazz, featuring the sons of legend Dave Brubeck, takes over Edmonds. And there’s this music festival in downtown Everett …

Sam Bowles records the run off the water from a chalk drawing with friend and co-artist, Rhyanna Mercer, Tuesday afternoon in Everett, Washington on May 10, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jackson High’s global TikTok star is chalk full of ideas

Sam Bowles, 18, uses vibrant videos and social media fame to raise awareness of autism.

Lonicera ciliosa, commonly called orange honeysuckle or western trumpet vine. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: orange honeysuckle

Its orange trumpets announce spring is here, and hummingbirds are irresistibly drawn to it.

Home & garden happenings in Snohomish County

The Mill Creek Garden Tour will return this summer after a two-year absence due to COVID-19.

Photo Caption: Would you believe a zipper sold for $18,450 at Morphy Auctions? What about a diamond necklace that looks and works like a zipper?
X-Y-Z spells ‘big money’ with this high-fashion zipper

It’s actually a necklace, but the zipper function works. Someone paid nearly $18,500 for it at a recent auction.

The signature retro VW bus is on display at the Lamb & Co. home decor store Saturday afternoon in Snohomish, Washington on January 8, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
This Snohomish store has the goods from HGTV’s ‘Unsellable House’

Take home the design and decor savvy of hometown real estate twins Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis.

The 2022 Infiniti QX60 Sensory has seating for seven. Heated outboard second-row seats and power-return third-row seats are standard equipment. (Manufacturer photo)
Infiniti QX60 Sensory model doesn’t play second fiddle

The new Autograph version tops the 2022 lineup, but this previous headliner holds its own.

Caption: Originally published in The Weekly Herald, “I Brake for Moms” has been running for ten years.
Ten years of columns later, a celebration of place, journalism

Jennifer Bardsley reflects on writing 520 installments of “I Brake for Moms.”

Joel Smallbone, left, and Luke Smallbone, right, of the group for King & Country, performs during the Dove Awards on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

The award-winning Christian pop duo For King & Country performs in Everett on Saturday.

Most Read