"Funky Turns 40" opens at Northwest African American Museum

"Funky Turns 40" opens at Northwest African American Museum

SEATTLE - Schoolhouse Rock and The Harlem Globetrotters cartoons were the sounds of Saturday mornings, for anyone who grew up in the 70's.

But those retro animated series weren't just entertainment for kids.

At the time, they were revolutionary.

"We went from very derogative images to very positive ones for the first time," said Rosanna Sharpe, Executive Director of the Northwest African American Museum. "They reinforced positive values and professions and language and interactions, civic duty, things like that."

The Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960's paved the way for the shift in pop culture. And four decades later, an exhibition of groundbreaking cartoons is being installed at the Northwest African American Museum.

"Funky Turns 40" features original cells from the animated shows, including super heroes, Star Trek icons, athletes, and a member of the Peanuts gang.

There were also characters designed to help kids learn, through educational programming.

"Those were some of the very foundational ideas that were put forth to young minds, that had to do with academic achievement," Sharpe said. "I think it was good for everyone sitting in front of the television and taking it all in."

All these years later, characters of all colors are ubiquitous. The curators of this exhibition hope audiences won't forget why, as they take a nostalgic walk into their own past.

"I think people will have fun and it will spark a lot of imagination and really good memories," Sharpe said.

"Funky Turns 40" opens Saturday, Nov. 22 with a kick-off party from 7 p.m. to midnight. The exhibition runs through May 2015.


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