In a tribute to the legendary artist Jacob Lawrence and to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated Jacob Lawrence Gallery, the School of Art + Art History + Design unveiled a portrait of Lawrence created by Seattle-based artist Barbara Earl Thomas, ’77, and commissioned by Allan, ’75, and Mary Kollar, ’65, ’82.
In late September, Thomas’ new work titled “Jacob and the Builders” was installed at the entrance of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in its new location within the Art Building and closer to the Quad.
Lawrence, a UW art professor from 1970 to 1985, mentored and taught many students, including Thomas and Allan Kollar. “This portrait is a tribute to dedicated educators at the University of Washington and the difference they make in their students’ lives,” Kollar said. “It serves as an important reminder of Jacob Lawrence’s enduring legacy.”
Thomas shared her journey creating the portrait. “It was a gift, after so many years, to sit and think deeply about Jacob and to reflect on who he was for me and so many others,” she said. “I conjured him in my mind’s eye and held his gaze to remember him as a teacher, artist, and friend. The journey was emotional because my goal was to capture not merely his likeness but his essence.”