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Historic Seattle Lecture Explores Cornish History

David Martin, the curator of Cascadia Art Museum exhibition on Cornish College of the Arts' history, will lecture on the history of the school on March 6, 7 p.m., at PONCHO. This event is part of the Historic Seattle 2017 educational program for lovers of buildings and heritage.

“Miss Aunt Nellie” as she was affectionately known, was arguably the most important figure in Washington State’s cultural history, according to arts researcher David Martin. 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. Nellie Cornish 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. Among the most memorable were: dancers Mary Ann Wells and her pupil Robert Joffrey, Adolph Bolm, Michio Ito, Merce Cunningham, and Martha Graham; photographer Wayne Albee; visual artist Mark Tobey; painters Louise Crow, James Edward Peck, Frank Okada, and Ebba Rapp; and sculptor Ebba Rapp. 

As part of Historic Seattle's spring education series, Martin will tell the story of the early years of Cornish through paintings, prints,sculpture, drawings, and photography. He presents highlights from Nellie Cornish’s legacy whose broad international reach influenced the fields of dance, music, visual arts, and performance. Appropriately, he will do this in the PONCHO Concert Hall in Kerry Hall, an architecturally and culturally significant building designed by A.H. Albertson that housed the Cornish school (and Nellie’s own apartment) beginning in 1921.

David Martin is co-owner and director of Martin-Zambito Fine Art. He is an independent arts researcher, writer, curator, and historian and a leading authority on early Washington State art and artists with a particular focus on women, Japanese Americans, Gay and Lesbian, and other minorities who had established national and international reputations during the period 1890-1960. He has championed the work and enhanced the reputations of many forgotten artists who made important contributions to the region’s artistic and cultural history. Martin is Consulting Curator for Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds, Washington, where he has organized many exhibitions, including last year's look at the history of artists associated with Cornish College of the Arts.

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

Monday, March 6, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

PONCHO Concert Hall, Cornish College of the Arts, 710 East Roy Street

Registration: $25 Historic Seattle members and Cornish College of the Arts staff or faculty (use promo code: member when registering online), $35 for the general public.

Students with student ID may pay $5 at the door.