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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Artwork by Native American artists featured at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery

4/3/2013  3:00:00 PM

Artwork by Native American artists featured at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery
Artwork was recently purchased by Seattle Public Utilities for the city's Portable Works Collection

SEATTLE — Masks and combs are among the objects on display in Native American Artwork in Seattle Public Utilities' Collection on view at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery April 3 through July 8. The exhibition will feature 20 artworks by 14 Native American artists, including 12 artworks recently purchased for Seattle Public Utilities Portable Works Collection.

"This exhibition features both traditional and contemporary artwork by some of the most influential Native American artists in the region," states Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs' curator and collections manager Deborah Paine. The artists included in the exhibition are Lawrence "Ulaaq" R. Ahvakana, Dennis Allen, Trevor Angus, Rande Cook, Allie High, Maynard Johnny Jr., James Lavadour, Daniel Morsette Jr., Andy Peterson, Ruth Peterson, Shaun Peterson, Susan Point, Mark Preston and Thomas Stream.

SPU purchased three masks by Daniel Morsett, Jr., a young Coast Salish artist in his 20s who has been carving since the age of 16. His alder, acrylic, abalone and horse-hair Bear Shaman Mask is stylistically carved and adorned. This mask depicts the moment the shaman is transforming into a bear. Coast Salish artist Ruth Peterson's Salish Serpents Comb is a meticulously carved panel that gives homage to ancient Salish weaving traditions. The double comb depicted in the artwork was historically used to push the warp and weft threads on loomed blankets. The serpent was used on weaving tools to prevent tangles in the yarn.

Also on view is the serigraph print Symphony of Butterflies by Susan Point (pictured above). This print is uniquely contemporary with its flourish of butterfly wings. However, Susan still incorporates her ancestral design elements into her work to keep it distinctively Salish.

The purchases were made possible with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds.

The Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 700 5th Ave., is located on the third-floor concourse and is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call (206) 684-7171 or visit

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs supports the health and vitality of our city by providing access to arts and culture, advancing the role of the arts in our community, and advocating for issues that affect the entire cultural community. The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.

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