Slide This is an amazing introduction to a new definition of what American art should be and can be. Wendy Red Star
Visual Artist

The Studio, 1977, Jacob Lawrence

Slide Historically, the word “American” typically denotes white people. But the actual story of what’s happened on this continent over the past half millennium is so much more complex. Inye Wokoma
Visual Artist & Co-Founder of Wa Na Wari

Talking Tintype, Swil Kanim, Violinist, Citizen of the Lummi Nation, 2017, printed 2019, Will Wilson

Slide There are memories carried by stories or even in our DNA that can only be accessed when you’re in touch and in tune and listening. Nicholas Galanin
Visual Artist

Four Self-Portraits, 1995, Alfredo Arreguín

Slide My hope for equity in the arts going forward is that the exploration never ends. Notions of equity are constantly going to change and this is important work that we need to keep on doing. Theresa Papanikolas, PhD,
Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art

Minidoka Series #2: Exodus, 1978, Roger Y. Shimomura

Slide In the past, we've looked at the different communities we represent parallel to the dominant historical timeline, but we haven't really looked at where these all intersect and come together. Barbara Brotherton
Curator of Native American Art (2001–2022)

Aam'halait, ca. 1860, Tsimshian

What is American Art?

At this crucial moment in our shared history, SAM wanted to ask the question that only opens up more questions—and more possibilities. After a two-year-long exploration with artists, community leaders, scholars, and students, we present American Art: The Stories We Carry, a new installation of the American art galleries at SAM. Watch how the collaboration unfolded.

A More Expansive Vision
of the American Experience

Oct 20 2022 – Ongoing
Seattle Art Museum

For the first time in 15 years, the Seattle Art Museum presents a new installation of its American art galleries, reinterpreting its historical collection to meet the present moment. The result of an extensive collaboration among SAM curators, staff, artists, and community advisors, American Art: The Stories We Carry brings SAM’s historical American art collection into conversation with its Native art collection, its modern and contemporary art collection, a gallery curated by artist Inye Wokoma, and new commissions by artists Wendy Red Star and Nicholas Galanin. Come take a more expansive look at the American experience.

Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast, 1870, Albert Bierstadt

With artworks across a range of media and genres—including portraiture, landscape, sculpture, decorative arts, and textiles—the exhibition presents America’s complicated history across several themes: how people interact with land and places; how objects reflect histories of trade, migration, and exploration; and the multiplicity of American identities.