The Obelisk is a prominent public sculpture created by the eminent African American painter and sculptor, James Washington Jr. This influential work holds a significant place in Seattle's artistic landscape. Having relocated to Seattle in 1944, Washington's artistic legacy can be witnessed not only throughout the city but also in prestigious art museums such as The Smithsonian, the Whitney, SFMOMA, and the Seattle Art Museum.
Through his artwork, Washington expressed his spirituality, a belief that imbued his creations with a transcendent quality that surpassed language and cultural barriers. He was a leading member of the renowned Northwest School, a collective of artists, writers, and sculptors that achieved international prominence during the mid-20th century.
In Seattle's Central District, Washington and his wife, Janie, established their home and studio at 1816 26th Ave, in a charming craftsman style bungalow. This historic residence was later designated as a landmark in 1922, attesting to its architectural and cultural significance.