Seattle-based Safeco Insurance began collecting art in the 1970s. Noticing disparities in community support for the arts, corporate decision makers established visual arts advocacy as a clear institutional priority. An employee-led acquisition team was appointed, their work guided by a mission intent on “enriching the work environment for all employees,” while supporting the region’s artists and galleries.
Safeco sought to build a collection that reflected “the creativity and diversity of the communities it served.” Art collecting became a part of the company’s corporate identity, while simultaneously fueling the region’s artistic sense of self during a period of unprecedented growth. Recognized nationally as a model for corporate collecting, the Safeco Art Collection evolved to capture a uniquely Pacific Northwest aesthetic.
As the company eventually reorganized, the will to maintain a corporate art collection waned. Through a series of transactions, the collection was distributed amongst several Washington state institutions. The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is proud to be entrusted with a portion of the Safeco Art Collection and preserve its legacy.
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