The Washington State Convention Center’s public art program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, was established to provide an environment that enriches the experience of all who visit the meeting facility. With well over 100 works on display, art has been a popular feature since the facility opened in 1988. Initially, art was incorporated into the building design as part of the State’s Percent for the Arts program. Since then, WSCC has developed an ever-changing collection, readily accessible at no charge to both event attendees and the general public. The facility has earned a reputation for being an excellent exhibit site with tremendous accessibility. Over 500,000 visitors have the opportunity to view the collection each year, and the WSCC galleries regularly receive mention as a destination of note in printed and on-line tourist guides for Seattle.
The art program has two components – permanent works and rotating exhibitions.
The permanent collection consists of gifts and long-term loans from artists, galleries, other governmental entities, corporations, foundations and private collectors. Well-known artists represented include Alfredo Arreguin, Hilda Morris, Alden Mason, Jenny Holzer, James Washington, Jr., Tony Angell, Margaret Tomkins, Kenneth Callahan, Michael Spafford, Richard Gilkey, Guy Anderson, Ron Hilbert, Paul Horiuchi and Nancy Mee. Some of the most popular works include Lebeg (Ann Gardner), Games (Jacob Lawrence), The Spirits Within (Alfredo Arreguin) and “A” Procession (Patty Warashina).
Quarterly rotating exhibitions are booked approximately two years in advance, following a screening process involving the WSCC’s Art Advisors. Over 165 of these exhibitions have been featured in the Rotating Art Gallery, Level 2 of the facility, since 1991.
In 1998, the WSCC Board of Directors established the Washington State Convention Center Art Foundation, at the recommendation of original board member Phyllis Lamphere. The Art Foundation is a non-profit corporation which serves the WSCC art program by providing the financial means to obtain new works and to otherwise support the program.
Artworks are displayed across the four levels of public space in the facility, and a self-guided tour brochure is available. The brochure also provides an exhibition schedule and contact information for artists and galleries, museums and institutions which are partners in the art program. The brochure can be downloaded here. To contact our artists, galleries or other partners, click here.