Remembering Julie Anderson, doyenne of Seattle arts

A daughter-in-law pays tribute to a beloved mainstay of good causes and the arts in Seattle.

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Julie Anderson

A daughter-in-law pays tribute to a beloved mainstay of good causes and the arts in Seattle.

Julie Anderson, who died from breast cancer on June 21, was one of those essential figures in Seattle arts for many years. She came out of the activism of the late 1960s, which was focused on saving the Pike Place Market, and then became a beloved leader of arts groups, particularly theater and visual arts, for many years. Anderson is survived by her husband Donald, son Paul and daughter Shelley, as well as eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., on July 27, 3 pm.

Here's a tribute to Julia A. Anderson, written by her daughter-in-law, the poet T. Clear:

Beginning with enrolling in college at the age of 15 to emerging as a grand doyenne of the Seattle arts scene, Julie Anderson stamped her mark with her acute intelligence, her unflinching honesty, and her ability to recognize excellence.She was a mentor, marketing professional, arts advocate, and curator.

Julie’s career was ignited in the mid 1960s when she fought tirelessly with Friends of the Market to prevent the demolition of what subsequently became the jewel of downtown Seattle. This campaign was the jumping-off point for a lifetime of generously sharing her passion of giving voice and finding homes for the arts. Her career included stints at The Henry Gallery, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, A Contemporary Theater, King County Arts Commission, and finally as curator of the Safeco Corporate Art Collection. She retired in 1999.

She was a generous mother and grandmother. Born and raised in Louisiana, she often threatened to substitute gumbo for the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. She prized any casual bouquet of flowers, and one Christmas filled her Lake City home with vases of lavish pink tulips. While claiming to not know how to cook, she entertained friends and family with grace, abundance, and savoir-faire. Among her grandchildren, her Southern grilled chicken is legendary.

One summer evening several years ago while sitting out back at my house with Julie and some friends, she spoke of losing two children, saying,  “You don’t get over it. You get used to it.” We won't get over losing her.



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