- Seattle, WA
- Site Type:
- Art Works, Murals
- New Deal Agency:
- Federal Arts Project (FAP)
- Jacob Elshin
- Quality of Information:
- Very Good
- Site Survival:
In 1937, the WPA’s Federal Art Project commissioned Jacob Elshin, an immigrant/refugee artist from Russia to produce a 3-panel historical mural for display in the West Seattle High School in Seattle. The panels of the mural illustrate the landing of settlers at Alki on the outskirts of Seattle, and show trade with the Seattle area native population and the development of a logging industry. The panels were originally installed in the entranceway to the high school auditorium, but were taken down prior to a remodeling in the 1950s and were temporarily lost. The Seattle Public Schools Archivist was able to locate the mural in 2001, and it was professionally restored for $30,000 and in 2002 installed in the newly-remodeled library of the school. It is open to the public for viewing currently.
Failing, Patricia. "New Deal Art in the Northwest: The WPA and Beyond, edited by Margaret E. Bullock." (2021): 410-412.
"West Seattle's lost mural is back in all its 1937 glory," by Gregory Roberts, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter, November 12, 2001, https://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/West-Seattle-s-lost-mural-is-back-in-all-its-1937-1071554.php
Seattle Channel Moving Images, Lessons from the Past: The Lost Elshin Mural: http://archives.seattle.gov/digital-collections/index.php/Detail/objects/260368
Correspondence with the West Seattle High School librarian, who showed me the installed panels in their library. Contacts with the Seattle Public Schools Archive Manager yielded the photos of the three mural panels, photos of the school, and the story of the loss, recovery and restoration of the mural panels.
Site originally submitted by Tim Bernthal on December 18, 2022.
Additional contributions by Barbara Pendleton.
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