Seattle gallery owner Scott Lawrimore has been named deputy director of collections and exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum, effective October 15. He’ll take the place of Robin Held —who left the First Hill institution in March to head up film nonprofit Reel Grrls—and share curatorial duties with Frye director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker. It’s a big move for Lawrimore, whose Lawrimore Project had been host to some of the most inventive, thought-provoking modern art in Seattle in its warehouse of a space until 2010, when he was forced to downsize. Big time. ’Where’s All the Arts Patrons At?’ he wondered in an email to supporters, and shortly after, he reopened the Project in a small sliver of the Union Trust Annex building in Pioneer Square.
The Frye decided to snatch him up, drawn to his "unflinching eye for exceptional talent, a penchant for the unexpected, and a strong sense of adventure that made him an important figure in the Seattle cultural community," Birnie Danzker said in a statement. Given Lawrimore’s new appointment, his gallery is officially closed (doors shut June 30), but his popular weekly Art Klatch meet-ups—where artists, curators, and the curious chat about arts and culture over breakfast—will continue. As for the artists featured at Lawrimore Project, many have already made an appearance at the Frye, including photographer Isaac Layman in his first museum exhibit. The Frye team couldn’t talk in detail about upcoming exhibits at this morning’s press conference, but Lawrimore said he was excited that the museum shared his commitment to supporting local artists.
He’ll also play a major role in developing programming around the Frye’s founding collection of 19th and early 20th-century paintings. Lawrimore comes at the position as an art historian, with a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis and master’s from California State University (Sacramento), both in art history. He has taught at Cornish College of the Arts and Seattle University, and will teach an MFA course at the University of Washington in the spring of 2013.
The newly refurbished Frye reopens July 14 with three new exhibits; more to come on that shortly.