Kenneth Callahan (1905–1986) was an American painter and muralist who served as a catalyst for Northwest artists in the mid-20th century through his own painting, his work as assistant director and curator at the Seattle Art Museum, and his writings about contemporary art. Born in Eastern Washington and largely self-taught as an artist, Callahan was committed to an art that went beyond the merely illustrative. He enrolled at the University of Washington in 1924 but did not stay long. He traveled widely, absorbing influences from the different countries and cultures he experienced. His talent was recognized early; his work was included in the first Whitney Biennial exhibition in 1933 and he went on to a distinguished painting career. Callahan is identified as one of the Northwest Mystics – along with Guy Anderson, Morris Graves, and Mark Tobey, who shared a muted palette and strong interest in Asian aesthetics.