Puget Sound English Department

March 19, 2010

Patrons of the Arts

We deviate from our usual bias toward the verbal arts to draw your attention to an extraordinary exhibition at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum through May 31. Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: A History explores the life-changing artwork produced by Tim Rollins, an artist and special-education teacher, and a group of students in the South Bronx–kids whose lives encompassed such poverty and misery that they define themselves as “Kids of Survival” (hence the K.O.S.). Rollins was 26 in 1981 when he was asked to create some hands-on art education for a group of “at risk” students in a dilapidated school in the ghetto. The results are astounding, and their works have been featured or exhibited in the Whitney, the Guggenheim, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Venice Biennale, and purchased by museums and private collectors.

You can find more information about the organization, which has branched out from its origins in the public schools and now operates programs in New York, Memphis, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, and its “Prometheus Bound” project here. KUOW’s “Weekday” program with Steve Scher featured a conversation with founder Tim Rollins and Angel Abreu this morning.

The Frye Art Museum is located at 704 Terry Ave., Seattle, in First Hill. Phone is (206) 622-9250. The Museum is closed Mondays; hours are as follows: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 10 – 5; Thu 10 – 8; Sun 12 – 5. Best of all, the Museum offers FREE admission and free parking in the Museum lot.

At a time when budgets for education are imperiled, it’s well worth a visit to see the astounding capabilities of those students who are so often forgotten or written off. And what would be possible if every child had a teacher like Tim Rollins, and the opportunity for artistic self-expression?

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