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

Brian Geppert holds a birdhouse made of skis at his home in Lynnwood, Washington on Saturday, March 11, 2023. Geppert started a recycling program for the greater Seattle area, which has saved hundreds of skis from their demise. He turns the skis into functional art for the home, such as coat racks, bottle openers, bookends, shelves, candle sconces, toilet plungers, beer flights, and more. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Boeing engineer turns old ski gear into household essentials

If Lynnwood’s Brian Geppert isn’t on the slopes, then he’s turning skis into coat racks and bottle openers.

Give your home some extra love with a deep clean this spring. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Roll up your sleeves and tackle these 15 spring cleaning steps

A lot of work? Sure. But it beats paying $800 for a cleaning service to do all this stuff.

What to do when a co-worker makes you miserable

It’s counterintuitive, but you need to get to know that person better. You don’t need to be friends — just understand them better.

Positano, the jewel of Italy's Amalfi Coast, hugs the rugged shoreline.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Glitzy Positano: Not just a pretty facade

It’s one of the most romantic and chic stops on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, a place of beaches, sunshine and picturesque towns.

Lyft charged her $150 for mud stains in a car. But she didn’t do it!

Debbie Kim is shocked to find a $150 charge from Lyft on her credit card. What did she do — and is there a way to undo it?

Hurtado works in a tattoo style called “fine line.” (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Tattoo artist draws a fine line

Ernesto ‘Nesto’ Hurtado of Wicked Boy Tattoo in Lynnwood specializes in a minimalist style that draws praise and criticism.

Caption: Three years after the pandemic began, simple items like masks, disinfecting wipes and toilet paper stir up deep memories.
Psychological impact of pandemic lingers three years later

When the words “two-item limit” in supermarkets still strike fear, it’s hard to toss pandemic relics like cloth masks.

Is every day Groundhog Day — and the same old bad habits?

How can we embrace change without waking up every morning to the same day?

Christian pilgrims and tourists are drawn to the dramatically situated Mont St-Michel, a soaring island abbey in Normandy that is completely surrounded by the sea at high tide.
Rick Steves on Mont St-Michel, Normandy’s magnificent island abbey

Solitude drew monks to this rock outpost long, long ago. Today, it’s crowded with tourists.

Most Read