Internationally acclaimed artist and Foster High School Hall of Famer Cummings dies at 93

Noted 20th century and Northwest artist William Cummings, a 1934 graduate of Foster High School, died Nov. 22 of congestive heart failure. The FHS alumnus had been inducted just two months ago to the Foster High School Alumni Hall of Fame, for his pioneering work in an internationally recognized regional painting community.

  • Monday, November 29, 2010 4:47pm
  • News

Noted 20th century and Northwest artist William Cummings, a 1934 graduate of Foster High School, died Nov. 22 of congestive heart failure. The FHS alumnus had been inducted just two months ago to the Foster High School Alumni Hall of Fame, for his pioneering work in an internationally recognized regional painting community.

Cummings was the longest-standing member of what was referred to as “The Northwest School,” composed of local painters who were well-known during the 1930s and 40s. Combing the area’s natural surroundings and sometimes Asian aesthetics, the Northwest School gained national attention when Life Magazine wrote an article about Cumming and his contemporaries, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan and Guy Anderson.

Cummings was a long-time teacher at the Burnley School of Professional Art, later known as the Art Institute of Seattle.

Twelve pieces of Cummings’ work are in the Seattle Art Museum’s permanent collection.

Cummings donated two paintings to Foster High School, which hang in the school office.

The Alumni Hall of Fame ceremony took place Oct. 20 at the high school.

Although Cummings could not attend, FHS students traveled to his home in Oregon to videotape an interview with him to be shown at the ceremony.

Students Charanpreet Samra, Emina Dacic and Huan Nguyen were responsible for the coordination of Hall of Fame process under the direction of their advisor Ms. Cynthia Chesak. A picture of Cummings has been placed in the foyer of Foster High School, along with two previous “Hall of Famers” Steve Mullet and Tim Parker.

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