Artist, Edmonds College supporter d’Elaine Johnson recognized as CWU 2020 Distinguished alumni

From left, d’Elaine Johnson, CWU Executive Director of Extended Learning and Outreach Dr. Lauren Hibbs, EC Foundation Executive Director Brad Thomas, and EC President Dr. Amit B. Singh. (Photo courtesy Edmonds College)

Central Washington University has named renowned artist and long-time Edmonds College supporter d’Elaine Johnson as the recipient of its College of Arts and Humanities 2020 Distinguished Alumni award.

The Distinguished Alumni award recognizes Johnson, a 1954 CWU graduate, for her body of work as a distinguished artist and 24 years as a Seattle Public Schools art teacher.

Edmonds College has partnered with Central Washington University since 1975, and CWU-Lynnwood has been co-located on the EC campus for the past 45 years to provide greater access to continued education for bachelor’s degree seeking students.

“d’Elaine Johnson has touched thousands of lives through her teaching, artwork, and philanthropy,” said EC Foundation Executive Director Brad Thomas. “Many of d’Elaine’s students stay in touch with her, which speaks volumes to how her encouragement and dedication inspired them.

Johnson’s impact in the Edmonds community will continue on for decades to come through EC Foundation scholarships she and her late husband John established for EC students studying art, music, horticulture, and drama.

“We are so appreciative of the generosity d’Elaine has shown to Edmonds College and our students, and we join in celebrating her award which is so greatly deserved,” said EC President Dr. Amit B. Singh.

The Johnsons, Edmonds residents since 1956, developed a relationship with EC and created a robust scholarship program as a way to pass on their legacy. In keeping with their belief that education is essential to developing self-reliance, the Johnson’s established a trust and bequest to the EC Foundation to provide hope and inspiration for future generations.

For the past 45 years, equity and inclusion have been at the center of Johnson’s work, and EC has more than 40 of Johnson’s 1,000 pieces from her collection on display throughout campus. “My art ties all life on this planet together in a universal context through the seas where life began and today connects all as one,” Johnson said. At 88 years young, she still keeps normal business hours and spends most of her day creating her own framing for canvases and painting in her workshop at her Edmonds home.

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