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Safeco Insurance Makes Historic Donation to Washington Art Consortium

Safeco® Insurance, a member of Liberty Mutual Group, today announced it has donated more than 800 works from the Safeco Art Collection to the Washington Art Consortium (WAC), an action that represents Safeco’s continued commitment to the Northwest community. The Safeco Art Collection is the oldest and most renowned corporate collection of exclusively Northwest art.

The donation includes works of art from internationally known Northwest artists including Jacob Lawrence, Fay Jones, Morris Graves, Barbara Thomas and George Tsutakawa.

A portion of the donated artwork will first be exhibited at the Wright Exhibition Space in Seattle this April. In the coming year, the seven WAC member museums will display artwork from the Safeco Art Collection to celebrate and share the gift.

“Safeco has a rich legacy in art investment expanding more than 30 years, so it was important to find a donation partner that could preserve the collection in such a way that would honor the rich history of the Northwest and its art,” said Michael Hughes, Safeco President. “The Washington Art Consortium is our perfect partner, and we look forward to watching the collection come to life in museums across our state.”

 The donated artwork includes nearly 500 works on paper, 130 works on canvas and panel and more than 180 three-dimensional objects including glass, ceramic, bronze and mixed media. Well-known in the local art community for its strength in contemporary Northwest art, the collection represents diversity in philosophies, ideas and cultural backgrounds.

 “It’s an honor to be the stewards of an art collection that represents the Northwest’s rich artistic heritage,” said Stephanie A. Stebich, president, Washington Art Consortium, and director, Tacoma Art Museum. “This donation is unparalleled in its size, its importance and its impact on Northwest culture. The Washington Art Consortium is proud to accept the donation and keep the collection available to the community for generations to come.” 

Safeco will continue to display works of art from its collection in its Northwest offices for employees to enjoy. 

About Safeco Insurance

In business since 1923 and based in Seattle, Safeco sells insurance to drivers and homeowners through a network of independent agents and brokers in eight regions throughout the U.S. Safeco is part of Liberty Mutual Agency Markets, a business unit of Liberty Mutual Group, consisting of property and casualty and specialty insurance carriers that distribute their products and services primarily through independent agents and brokers. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 86th on the Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. corporations based on 2008 revenues.

About the Washington Art Consortium

The Washington Art Consortium (WAC) is a unique non-profit cooperative comprised of the seven major art museums located in four main urban centers and three primary universities in Washington State.

The first organization of its type in the nation, the Consortium began in 1975 when its founder, Seattle philanthropist and modern art collector Virginia Wright, worked with five Washington State museums to apply for separate grants to the National Endowment for the Arts for funds to purchase art.  The idea was novel and ambitious: an art collection that would not belong to one museum, but would be jointly held and tour continuously throughout Washington State. The donation of the Safeco Art Collection will be the Consortium’s fourth collection adding to the current holdings of artworks on paper from 1945 - 1992.

Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; Museum of Art, Washington State University, Pullman; Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma; Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham; and Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham.