I cannot wait to cry in front of Panel 28.
I cannot wait to cry in front of Panel 28 from Jacob Lawrence's Struggle series. Courtesy of SAM

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Almost one year to the day of the first death due to coronavirus: Washington has surpassed 5,000 COVID deaths. The grim milestone came on Wednesday and is a reminder of the thousands who are no longer with us because of this deadly disease. While we are trending in the right direction, we are hitting a plateau. We're not out of the woods yet.

For all you car-drivin' folk: 520 is closed this weekend as Washington Department of Transportation continues construction on the Montlake lid.

38 protesters killed in Myanmar yesterday by government forces in the deadliest day since the military coup began one month ago. Protesters are demanding the release of government leaders who were overthrown and detained in the coup, as well as calling for the end of military rule. Witnesses say that security forces have opened fire on large crowds "with little warning." At least 50 people have been killed and many more wounded.

Federal law enforcement is on high alert today: After an intelligence bulletin warned of "a group of violent militia extremists having discussed plans to take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4." The House changed its schedule, moving a vote from Thursday to Wednesday ~*~just in case~*~. According to CNN, some QAnon conspiracy theorists believe Trump will be inaugurated today, as presidents elected between 1793 to 1933 used to be inaugurated on or around March 4. Is that the only fact those jerks learned from history books? It's a complicated, dumb theory.

That said: The Senate is still slated to meet later today, as Democrats are hoping to push Biden's big ole pandemic aid package through the chamber by this weekend. The GOP is hoping to slow the process as much as possible. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he'll force Senate clerks to do a full reading of legislation on the floor, which will take several hours and offer a slew of amendments to prolong discussion. Fuck that guy.

Now for the weather:

As you might remember, a group of clay artists from the Puget Sound area dropped an open letter on Monday calling for accountability and oversight at Seattle-based Pottery Northwest because of "alarming accounts of racism, sexism, classism, elitism, misogyny and threats" at the org. They also called for the immediate termination of executive director James Lobb, who subsequently resigned this week after the letter was made public. In a statement, Pottery Northwest says they "take these accusations seriously," and their next moves include "hiring outside diversity and inclusion consultants to help us re-imagine the organization, our leadership, and establish concrete action plans."

I contacted one of the artists involved with the letter yesterday: Tacoma-based clay artist Phi Le described a hostile environment at Pottery Northwest. They told me they witnessed a consistent lack of accountability from the organization, particularly as it pertained to the inclusion and prioritization of BIPOC artists. After going public with their thoughts on the organization, Le heard back from other clay artists who also had extremely negative experiences with Pottery Northwest, leading them to collectively write the letter.

Le emphasized to me that they don't want Pottery Northwest to go away: But just that there's a lot of things they can do differently. "If they do more community outreach, if they say that they are willing to train Black potters to be teachers in the space, then it could really turn around the idea that pottery is just for rich white people."

I haven't heard back from Pottery Northwest: But I'll be sure to update if I do.

Glad we are reunited with Panel 16.
Glad we are reunited with Panel 16. Courtesy of SAM
The Seattle Art Museum is officially re-reopening tomorrow, debuting Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle to the public: This exhibition features Lawrence's prolific 30-panel Struggle: From the History of the American People series for the first time since 1958, telling the stories of pivotal moments in American history through the lens of Black people. It will also include the work of three contemporary artists that respond to Lawrence's monumental work. Lawrence—who lived in Seattle from 1970 until his death in 2000—is one of America's greatest artists and also one of our greatest historians. Using his modernist, borderline abstract style, he communicates action and emotion in deeply profound way. It's truly a moving experience to look at his work. I can't wait to see it IRL.

The show is significant not only because Lawrence fucking rules: But because it reunites two long lost panels with the rest of the series. I wrote about the recovery of Panel 16 last year, resurfaced after an elderly couple in New York realized the true identity of the painting hanging in their apartment. The panel had not been seen since 1960 and its relocation seemed like a one-time occurence. That was until earlier this week, when a second long-missing panel from the series, Panel 28 (pictured at the top of this article), was also recovered, also in a home of a New Yorker. If any of you have one of the other three missing masterpieces from this series by a Black genius, fork them over right now!

If you feel comfortable leaving your home right now, you should see the exhibition: Reserve your timed tickets here.

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Artists worry about what the sale of Inscape Arts will do to their future: The former Immigration & Naturalization Service building houses the "largest arts and culture enclave in Seattle" and will soon go up on the auction block, reports Heidi Groover at the Seattle Times. While the Marcus & Millichap, the owners of the building, say there's no plan right now to kick out the 100 artist tenants, many are understandably concerned that a sale could mean the end of one of the sweetest art studio buildings in Seattle. Read Groover's article here.

Yesterday, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act: The Guardian calls it "the most ambitious police reform effort in decades." The legislation includes a ban on chokeholds and qualified immunity for cops, as well as creating "national standards for policing" to bolster accountability. Last year, the House passed a version of the bill, but it wasn't taken up by the Senate. This time around, the bill has the support from the White House and Democratic-controlled Senate, but its passage in the upper chamber is looking unlikely.

For your listening pleasure: Criterion Channel added the remastered director's cut of Solange's album/film When I Get Home to their platform this week. Here's the dreamy "Beltway."