In Your Midst
In the Neighborhood: Frye Brings History to First Hill
Summer 99

The Frye Art Museum
The Frye Art Museum
The Frye Art Museum is a long-time neighbor of St. James Cathedral and although many parishioners have rediscovered the "new" Frye since its recent expansion, many may not know its colorful history or the details of the renovation, completed in 1997. The Frye re-opened its doors with a new building exactly 45 years after it first opened in 1952.

Designed by the award-winning Seattle firm Olson Sundberg Architects, the expanded museum specializes in realist paintings and features an elegant environment for contemporary and traditional realist art. It also provides a pleasant place to meet after services at St. James. Other features include a museum store, a restaurant, an auditorium, and art studios offering over 15 different workshops quarterly.

The roots of the museum go back to 1888, when Charles Frye founded a meat packing business. He built a warehouse in the vicinity of the King Dome. Train tracks led cars full of cattle to the warehouse where the meat was prepared and shipped out to shops along the West Coast.

Gold seekers flowing into Seattle stocked up on Frye meat before heading to the Klondike during the 1898 Gold Rush. Charles and his wife, Emma, began collecting art at that time. Over a 40-year period, they amassed a collection that reflected their German background. After Charles's death in 1940 his attorney, Walser Greathouse, worked patiently to create an art museum for the collection. Greathouse operated the museum for 13 years. His wife, Kay took up the torch for another 28 years. The new director, Richard V. West, arrived in 1995 in time to oversee the expansion.

The Frye Permanent Collection consists of 19th and 20th-century American and European paintings and includes one of the nation's most important collections of German Munich School paintings, in addition to an impressive collection of American masters.

St. James played an important role in the grand opening festivities, supporting Frye staff in a variety of ways, and provided parking space for over 5,000 visitors that descended upon the neighborhood during the two-day opening.

The Frye also offers a wide range of art workshops, tours and international exhibitions and is open to the public free of charge.

Summer 1999
June 19 - Sept. 5, 1999
Earthscape: Artists in
Alaska's Copper River Delta


July 2 - Aug. 29, 1999
John Register: A Retrospective
The contemporary American urban landscape

Mary Ann Barron is the Director of Community Relations at the Frye Art Museum.


Back To Summer 1999 Issue