African American sculptor May Howard Jackson's
African American sculptor May Howard Jackson's "Portrait Bust of an African" is up now at the Tacoma Art Museum. Courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum

An impressive display of 150 artworks celebrating Black Americans from 1595 to now is up at the Tacoma Art Museum: Last weekend, the museum down south debuted an incredible show called The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection. The exhibition consists of works collected by Shirley and Bernard Kinsey over their 50-year marriage. It is considered "one of the most comprehensive surveys of African American history and culture outside the Smithsonian Institution." The collection spans mediums, from sculptures and painting to works on paper and rare books. If you can't make it down to Tacoma, you can view the collection via this Google Arts and Culture site, but you should definitely try to see it IRL. Here are the Kinseys speaking about the collection coming to TAM earlier this year:

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Speaking of Black art: This week is one of your last chances to see Black Refractions at the Frye Art Museum. The exhibition of over 100 pieces of Black art from the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem ends in two weeks. Don't miss it! In celebration of the show's closing, the Black Cinema Collective will host a film program called SHAPESHIFTERS on August 14 at the Frye Auditorium featuring videos and short films from artists across the African diaspora.

One last thing: The Black Embodiments Studio—an arts writing incubator/public lecture series grounded in Black contemporary art based out of the University of Washington—now has an Instagram. Follow them for excellent writing and info on lectures about Black art and artists in the city. They even have a continually updated guide specifically for where to look at Black art in Seattle!

In other arts-related news...

Britney Spears is painting the chaos away: The pop star who is in the middle of a contentious court battle over her years-long conservatorship turned to art to settle her nerves. "This is an expression of how I’m feeling at the moment … rebellious… colorful…bright…bold …spontaneous…magical…so obviously showing my true colors 😜🌈🤓 !!!!" she wrote in an Instagram post. Britney, we see you!

Seattle's Lady A is still struggling against the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum for name rights: Beverly Aarons over at the South Seattle Emerald spoke with the Black blues singer about how the white country band's decision to rename themselves using her moniker is an ongoing battle.

The first OFFICIAL Pioneer Square Art Walk is back this Thursday: As I mentioned in the last edition of Art Mailbox, this Thursday's Art Walk down at Pioneer Square also kicks off the Seattle Deconstructed Art Fair. The deconstructed art fair is meant as a stand-in for the delayed Seattle Art Fair and celebrates local galleries and artists for the month of August. This week, be sure to check out Michael Knutson at Greg Kucera Gallery, group show Mineral Drive at SOIL, the last days of Susanna Bluhm's solo show at J. Rinehart Gallery, and Jessica Julius and Erica Rosenfeld's joint show at Traver Gallery. See ya there!

But there's another new art fair in town: Superfine's Seattle Art Fair is setting up shop from August 19-22 at Belltown's Block 41. The art fair will feature the work of over 60 artists with prices aimed at budding collectors who may not have tens of thousands of dollars to drop on a single painting. The Advocate recently described Superfine, the company behind the fair, as being known for its "outsized representation of LGBTQ+ artists, artists of color, and other traditionally underrepresented groups." Nab your tickets here.

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Wondering what it's like to go to a country festival at the Gorge with over 20,000 people? During a pandemic?! Michael Rietmulder over at the Seattle Times went to the ninth annual Watershed festival so you didn't have to. This article also alerted me to the existence of a "Drunk Wives Matter" t-shirt which is causing me considerable stress.

A call for all you artists out there: Alliance for Pioneer Square is looking for local artists to paint a permanent mural on a wall along 4th Avenue under the Yesler Bridge. Get more information about the project here.

Leaving you with a sneak peek of Susanna Ryan of Seattle Walk Report's new book Secret Seattle: It drops tomorrow, August 3. Enjoy some of Seattle's star signs and then preorder the book here:

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