Centennial Center Gallery features City’s Danny Pierce collection

The City of Kent Arts Commission’s Centennial Center Gallery (400 W. Gowe St.), is displaying the city’s full collection of Danny Pierce artwork through May 18.

The show is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Danny Pierce (September 10, 1920 – March 6, 2014) was a beloved Kent artist with a long and prestigious career. His artwork is included in such notable collections as the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Seattle Art Museum, and he has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad.

This exhibit features ten artworks that were generously donated to the City of Kent art collection by Danny and Julia Pierce’s children from the Pierce estate, as well as works from the city’s existing Danny Pierce collection.

Danny began life working as a cowboy in California and, throughout his life, he remained adventurous. His artwork consistently chronicled the working landscapes of farm, forest, sea, range, and city, paying special attention to the partnership between man and animal. At the age of 19, he entered the Art Center School in Los Angeles, but the Depression and World War II intervened. From 1940 to 1953, Danny worked as a commercial artist, served a term in the military, enrolled in the American Art School in Manhattan, moved to the Adirondack Mountains to work as an illustrator, and concluded his education at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School. In the midst of this period, he married Julia Rasmussen in 1943 and started his family of four children in 1952.

In 1959, the Carnegie Foundation invited Danny to be the first Artist-in-Residence and founding Chairperson of the Art Department (1960-1963) at the University of Alaska, College, AK. While in Alaska, he hunted whales with Eskimos, documented nesting birds, and raised his family in rustic conditions. In 1964, Danny was invited to be a guest instructor in printmaking at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI. He remained in Wisconsin for the remainder of his teaching career, retiring as a Professor Emeritus in 1984.

Danny and Julia always returned to Kent, Julia’s hometown. They lived in her childhood home until their deaths, which were two weeks apart in 2014.

Centennial Gallery shows are produced by the City of Kent Arts Commission. For more information, visit http://kentwa.gov/arts/gallery/