Deaf from birth, Ned Behnke expressed himself in the visual arts from an early age. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central Washington University, and his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from RIT. He lived and worked in Seattle, where he taught art to deaf and hard of hearing students at Cornish College of the Arts, and other institutions. A Cornish painting studio was named in his honor in 1982. Behnke passed away in 1989.
During his life, Behnke received many national arts awards; among them, a major public art commission by the King County Arts Commission, for the Seattle Hearing and Deafness Center. He exhibited his art widely, with gallery representation by Foster/White Gallery.
After his passing, through the generous philanthropy of the Behnke family, his legacy lives on through various organizations such as the Neddy Artists Awards, the Ned Behnke Leadership award at The Northwest AIDS Foundation (now the LIFELONG AIDS Alliance); and the Ned Behnke Preschool under the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center.