More Than Human: Exploring Seattle’s Changing Landscape

Whether or not we realize it, the story of Seattle is made up of more than our human presence. Many of our species’ greatest achievements would not have been possible without the animals and other natural resources that surround us.

On March 12, 2022, the Frye Art Museum brought together four voices from the arts, sciences, history, and the Duwamish Tribe. Inspired by current exhibitions Human Nature, Animal Culture: Selections from the Frye Art Museum Collection and Boren Banner Series: Sadie Wechsler, this panel explored the area’s history through its flora and fauna, while looking ahead to its future.

About the Panelists

Frederick L. Brown is an independent scholar and book indexer based in Seattle. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington in 2010. He worked from 2003 to 2013, as a historian for the National Park Service, researching and writing about NPS sites in the western United States. His award-winning book, The City is More Than Human: An Animal History of Seattle (University of Washington Press, 2016), considered the role of animals as property, symbols, and friends in the evolving city. He is currently working on a book project about the nineteenth-century introductions of house sparrows, European starlings, and other European songbirds into the U.S. and Canada.

Desiree Rose Fagan is a Duwamish Tribal member and serves on the Tribal council. She is a wife and mother of four amazing children. Fagan was born in Seattle, Washington and has lived in the Puget Sound her entire life. She currently lives with her family in University Place Washington. Fagan feels it an honor to serve her people and continue in moving forward with the work her family has done as stewards of this land. They continue the fight for their treaties to be upheld and honored.

Sadie Wechsler received a BA from Bard College in 2007 and an MFA from Yale School of Art in 2013. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and was included in FORMAT International Photography Festival in England and Beijing and Out of Sight in Seattle. Other group shows include those at SAD Gallery, Seattle; Johalla Projects, Chicago; Aperture Gallery, New York; Belfast School of Art; Photoville, Brooklyn; and Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, OR. She has had solo shows at De Soto Gallery in Culver City, CA, and at Gallery 4Culture in Seattle. Wechsler has received the Delivan Grant from Bard College and the smArt Ventures Grant from the City of Seattle. She has also been an artist in residence at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, CO, and a participant in The Arctic Circle expeditionary residency program. In 2016, she self-published her first monograph Part I: Redo, and her work is included in the collections of the Yale School of Art Library, the Hammer Museum at UCLA and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, and in the King County Portable Collection.

Ken Workman is a Native American from the Duwamish Tribe and 5th generation Great-Grandson of Chief Seattle. Ken is retired from The Boeing Company’s Flight Operations Engineering Group where he worked as a Systems and Data Analyst. Ken is a member of the Duwamish Tribe, the first people of Seattle, and former Duwamish Tribal council member, as well as a former President of Duwamish Tribal Services, the non-profit arm of the Duwamish Tribe. Today Ken enjoys his retired life where he takes long walks in the mountains east of Seattle where he lives on a river.


About the Moderator

Kathleen Chapman is an associate professor of art history at Virginia Commonwealth University and the curator of Human Nature, Animal Culture: Selections from the Frye Art Museum Collection. She specializes in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European art, particularly German modernism. Her publications include Expressionism and Poster Design in Germany 1905–1922: Between Spirit and Commerce (2019) and articles focusing on art, visual culture, and collecting practices in Wilhelmine and Weimar Germany.