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Washington Mutual African Art Festival for Families at Seattle Art Museum Celebrates African Culture

FREE for Kids under 18

African dance, music, storytelling and visual art are just a few of the elements visitors will experience at the upcoming Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) African Art Festival for Families.

The festival, held in association with the Seattle Art Museum's exhibition, Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the downtown museum.

The Washington Mutual African Art Festival for Families will include a variety of activities for the entire family including performances from Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Zimbabwe. Visitors will also have the opportunity to experience a full range of artforms including music, games, dance and storytelling.

"Experiencing the cultural richness of African Art has taken a long step forward thanks to the Seattle Art Museum and its exhibition, Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back," said Brad Davis, Washington Mutual executive vice president of marketing and community relations. "We applaud SAM and its efforts to undertake the `long steps' in the Yoruba proverb and to connect African artwork with its origins."

The exhibition includes a dozen African and American artists/scholars who guided the museum staff in presenting the African works and offered a context for the varied creative elements such as music, movements, staging, special effects and conversation.

Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back includes diverse African cultural classifications such as royal art from the Kom and Asante kingdoms; masquerades from the Yoruba, Dan and Mende; powerfully encrusted Mande hunters' shirts; sculptures created for healing from the Kongo; and Maasai beadwork collected by a community. The range of projects related to the exhibition will ensure that the collaborations continue beyond the museum's walls.

In celebration of the exhibition, visitors 18 years and under will receive free museum admission to the Washington Mutual African Art Festival for Families. Free family tours of the exhibition will be available at 11 a.m., noon, 1 and 2 p.m.

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a national financial services company that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At Dec. 31, 2001, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $242.51 billion. The company currently operates more than 2,300 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at www.wamu.com.

Located at 100 University St., SAM is open Tuesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday until 9 p.m. Suggested admission: $7 for adults; $5 for seniors (62 and over) and students with valid ID. Admission is free for SAM members and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. First Thursdays are free to all visitors; First Fridays are free to seniors. For general recorded information, call 654-3100. Visit our Web site: www.SeattleArtMuseum.org

CONTACT:          Washington Mutual
                  Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot, 206/377-3635
                  Cara Baldridge, 206/748-9285

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