One of several framed prints rested on an easel on the stage of The Summit’s Kyte Theater. It depicted a pair of eyes that have seen many difficult times.
Even though the eyes stared out into the crowd, it was the students and faculty who were transfixed, listening to what 1998 alumnus of The Summit Brian Washington had to say in a Feb. 28 presentation during Black History Month.
Brian returned to The Summit to discuss his background and how he went from being an attorney at a prestigious law firm in Los Angeles to becoming an acclaimed artist documenting the struggles of black Americans from the slavery and sharecropping eras to the Civil Rights Movement and current tensions.
When he was 17-years old, Brian created an ink drawing entitled A Hurting Nation as a response to what he felt about what was going on in America at that time. For his effort, he was awarded an Ohio Congressional Art award.
With mixed charcoal as his medium, Brian has illustrated at least 40 pieces for his collection entitled The Continual Struggle.
A portion of that collection was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution and is now in the National Underground Railroad and Freedom Center’s permanent collection.
Brian’s presentation also centered on what he called “The Power of Connection”. He mentioned that, among other facets, you have to be connected to yourself, your colleagues and your community. His appearance helped Brain reconnect with The Summit and he hopes to serve as an inspiration for current students.
“The Summit arms you with advantages others don’t have,” Brian said during the presentation. “If you take that and internalize it, you’ll be so far ahead in life.”