Article Date: June 30th, 2011
Author: Dick Wagner, Center for Wooden Boats
Category: Sound Off
History is bigger than you think. It is part of the primeval soup of human culture. Why else were themes of hunting, gathering, processions, domestic and wild animals communicated before language was born? Experiences have been shared through drawings on rocks, clay walls, pottery, papyrus and sheepskins. Rituals with drums, whistles, songs and dancing have interpreted symbols of passages through life. Historic themes have been in symbiotic partnership with visual arts, music and literature for eons.
The role of King Countyâ€™s historical museums and organizations is an essential part of the big picture. Our diverse types of exhibits, events, programs and publications are outstanding examples of understanding the evolution of what we were. Without changing our missions why not provide even deeper experiences by teaming up with the art, music dance, drama and literature disciplines of the University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Cornish College of the Arts and Richard Hugo House.
Imagine connecting paintings of da Vinci and Vermeer with craftsmanship of the northwest pioneers; connecting Water Music and Das Rhinegold to the varied moods of the Green River and Puget Sound; connecting Treasure Island and Moby Dick with the northwest era of commercial sailing ships and their racial integration; connecting the Odyssey with the Battle of Seattle.
Just as we compare and contrast the artifacts made by the individuals who founded the northwest settlements, we can also compare virtual historical themes in art, music and literature with the themes in art, music and literature with the real.
Letâ€™s consider adding a new dimension to our missions.
Dick Wagner is the founding director of the Center for Wooden Boats, which this summer is hosting an exhibit of artist Robin Siegl’s oil paintings of the working waterfront.