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 the public. The facility has earned a reputation for being an excellent exhibit site with tremendous accessibility. The WSCC galleries regularly receive mention as a destination of note in tourist guides for Seattle.
Our notable 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 provide a diverse array of local artists’ works, creating an ever-changing tapestry of talent. These shows are booked approximately two years in advance, following a screening process with the WSCC’s Art Advisors. Nearly 200 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 board member emeritus, Phyllis Lamphere. The Art Foundation is a non-profit corporation/that serves the WSCC art program by providing the financial means to obtain new works and otherwise support the program. The WSCC also receives art-related assistance from a panel of advisors who work with government, corporate and foundation collections.
Artworks are displayed across the four levels of public space in the facility, and a self-guided tour brochure is available throughout the facility and on this website. The brochure also provides a rotating exhibition schedule and contact information for artists as well as galleries, museums and institutions that are partners in the art program.