Susan Point, "Symphony of Butterflies," 2008, serigraph, 37"h x 30"w x 1/16"d. Photo by Spike Mafford.
Susan Point, "Symphony of Butterflies," 2008, serigraph, 37"h x 30"w x 1/16"d. Photo by Spike Mafford.

Portable Works

The city's Portable Works Collection is a rotating collection of nearly 3,000 artworks in all media, representing hundreds of artists collected by the city since 1973. The collection includes sculpture, painting, mixed media, prints, photography and textiles.

The artworks are exhibited primarily in public areas of municipal buildings. Using 1%-for-Art funds from city construction budgets, the portable collection includes the work of emerging and established artists.

The purpose of the Portable Works Collection is to increase public awareness of and support for the arts by displaying works in the working environment of public buildings. Here, the employees are able to experience a wide array of artistic and cultural expression.

Collection Highlights

View a sampling of featured portable artworks.

Tagged under:

Public Art


Find Art in your Neighborhood
Maps & Apps
We invite you to chart your own course through the city keeping an eye out for art in unexpected places. Art gives shape to Seattleʼs urban fabric. Since 1973, Seattle has proudly supported this endeavor with its 1% for Art program. Venture into Seattleʼs many neighborhoods and find other engaging works of art. The cityʼs collection includes more than 400 permanent public artworks. Enjoy your journey. We hope you are inspired, delighted and challenged along the way.
Permanently Sited
The collection includes more than 400 permanently sited and integrated works. Artworks are commissioned through a public process. Panels comprised of professional visual artists along with community and city representatives evaluate the artist applicants. The city stewards and maintains its artworks through an ongoing program of coordinated conservation activities, which include inspections, major restorative work and routine maintenance.
Temporary Public Art Projects
Civic Square Fence
Three mural artists and artist-teams have created 200-foot long murals now on view on the Civic Square construction fence in downtown Seattle.
Seattle Center Sculpture Walk
Series of temporary artworks to enliven the Seattle Center Campus with color, whimsy and surprise. The temporary artworks range from site specific sculptural installations to community engagement sessions.
Art Interruptions 2015
Art Interruptions offers ephemeral moments of surprise and reflection in the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway from September 4, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
In our Galleries
Sound Impressions
November 3, 2015 – January 5, 2016
A group show featuring more than 100 posters from over 20 of the area’s best poster artists past and present.
Seattle Simplified
October 1, 2015 - April 3, 2016
Two part exhibition encompasses Seattle City Light’s recent artwork purchases which portray Seattle and its surrounding landscape.
Disconnected Towers
November 16, 2015 - January 15, 2016
Reimagines temporary power posts used to tie-off electricity in the demolition and construction of homes, as beacons that portend gentrification and scaffolds that uphold societal ideology and duplicity.
Susan Ringstad Emery, <em>Origins: An Art Show by an Iñupiat Scandinavian</em> <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-new-window"></span>
October 14, 2015 - January 12, 2016
Artist Susan Ringstad Emery brings a unique perspective to contemporary Native artwork with her caveart- inspired mixed media works on panel. Descended from generations of Iñupiat and Scandinavian hunters , fishermen, ship builders and even a shaman, artist Susan Ringstad Emery offers a lighthearted description of herself as a “city Eskimo & a Norwegian who doesn’t look the part”. She is inspired by indigenous artwork from around the world and the Iñupiat Ilitqusiat, or the values system of northwest Alaska.
spotlight | ART TOURS with Deborah Paine <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-new-window"></span>
This fall the city is offering Spotlight Art Tours featuring artwork from City Light’s portable collection. Tours are led by Deborah Paine, Curator and Collections Manager at the Office of Arts & Culture, and will focus on artwork displayed at Seattle Municipal Tower.

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