Mayor’s Office Gallery Feature: Lawrence C. Pitre

One of the greatest parts of becoming the Mayor of this City was the opportunity to spend so much time meeting people in every part of Seattle. We are a city of fantastic, diverse communities. While I was crisscrossing this city to roundtables and community events, I met so many incredible people that make this city into one of the coolest place anywhere in the world. Each neighborhood is full of music, film, theatre, art, dance and new genres in the making and defined by our vibrant ,energetic, and rich arts and cultural activities.

I was fortunate to get the chance to meet Lawrence C. Pitre during a meeting at the Rainier Chamber of Commerce. Like so many others that I’ve met in recent months, I heard about his life and his work and took a card with the hopes that I could make it to his next gallery showing.

His story and his art stood out in my memory.  I was honored to have the chance to invite him to show his work on the 7th floor of City Hall as the first exhibition featured during my time as Mayor. His colorful paintings showcase scenes of life in and around Seattle’s Central District from 1840 to 2018. They feature a wide range of topics from joyful traditional weddings to the sobering effects of Japanese internment on Seattle’s communities, and depict many of our local legends including Chief Sealth, Bruce Lee, Wing Luke, Larry Gossett, Bernie Whitebear and Decharlene Williams. These paintings serve as a strong reminder of our region’s history and diversity, and remind me of all the things that make Seattle what it is today.

-JAD

More about Lawrence C. Pitre:

Lawrence was born in the Central Area of Seattle. Just as other children growing up, he was looking for an identity and visual art became that mystical vehicle. After receiving his AA Degree, Lawrence transferred to the University of Washington into the School of Art where he began to cultivate his artistic talents under the direction of the Renowned Artist “Jacob Lawrence.”

Upon completion of his BA in Fine Arts, Lawrence quickly learned that self-expression was a key to creative cultivation. So, in the fall of 2015 he decided to bridge the gap between his government career and his artistic passion and enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts Leadership Program which he graduated in June 2017 at Seattle University. As part of his summary project, Lawrence challenged himself by creating this 30-piece series called “We Are One” which was driven by the context of urban renewal and displacement related to the Central Area of Seattle.

Personally, Lawrence sees his artistic endeavors as self-expressions depicting life experiences, which include our struggles, our joy and our love for the City. Lawrence seeks to understand the process of creativity in the way a theoretical physicist seeks to understand the universe. His selection process is a spiritual layering which, when you step back seems to float within the universe we live in. He calls this process natural “intelligence.” It is a key aspect of Pitre’s philosophy.

You can find more of his work at: http://www.lcpitre.com/

The Seattle Mayor’s Office gallery was established in 2014 with a mission to exhibit artworks by emerging and established artists of color. Curated by the Office of Art & Culture (ARTS), exhibitions, ranging in media, showcase the many artists and communities that make up Seattle.

All artists selected to exhibit in this gallery are on the Ethnic Artistic Roster, a juried roster of regional artists of color. These artists do not have gallery representation and this is yet another way to engage people in the work we do around the Race and Social Justice Initiative by fostering dialogue and supporting communities of color.

For more information, contact the Office of Arts & Culture at arts.culture@seattle.gov or (206) 684-7171.