Seattle's Henry Art Gallery reopens and celebrates major expansion on April 13, 1997.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 7/16/2002
  • Essay 3891
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On April 13, 1997, the Henry Art Gallery, located in Seattle on the University of Washington campus, reopens and celebrates its major renovation and expansion. Thousands of donors have already attended opening celebrations over the weekend, which receive major media attention. The addition was designed by Charles Gwathmey.

A Tradition of Innovation

The gallery had opened in 1927 as the first public art museum in the state of Washington, and had long had a reputation for mounting risk-taking and innovative shows. The expansion quadrupled the museum's size -- from 10,000 square feet to more than 40,000 square feet. The new facilities include a 154-seat auditorium, a multi-media gallery, a café, a bookstore, and a sculpture court along with improved facilities for art handling, storage, and collections research.

Charles Gwathmey designed the huge addition, "an architectural collage of glass, textured stainless steel and cast stone," that goes with the original red brick building designed by Carl Gould in the 1920s (website).

On the Cutting Edge

Notable and at times remarkable exhibitions before and since the renovation have included a retrospective exhibition of the paintings of Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), an extensive show of the video art and environments of the Seattle artist Gary Hill, an exhibit titled "Andy Warhol: Drawings, 1942-1987" (2000), and "(Gene)sis: Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics" (2002), in which numerous artists explore and query the Human Genome Project.


Henry Art Gallery website (; Robin Updike, "Oh! Henry: For Openers, It Was Quite a Weekend," The Seattle Times, April 14, 1997 (

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