The West Collection is a collection of artworks that are on long-term loan to SEI, the financial services firm founded 46 years ago by Al West. Al and his daughter Paige have spent the last 19 years collecting 3,100 compelling contemporary works by over 700 leading international artists, many of them from the Philadelphia Area.
What is different about the West Collection, is that the artworks are on display at the offices of SEI itself, in Oaks, PA (outside of Phoenixville) and in the SEI satellite offices throughout the world. (The offices themselves are what one might expect to commonly find in other more progressive parts of the world). Another thing that is different is that these artworks in this office represent one of the most ambitious collections of contemporary art in private hands anywhere in the world.
The goal of the West Collection is to share challenging and inventive work of emerging artists with the SEI audience and the public. At any given time 1,500 works from the West Collection are installed at the SEI Corporate Campus in Oaks, PA and other works are displayed in rotating exhibitions at the nearby West Collection Warehouse. Artworks are also loaned to various international and local museums and universities for exhibition. Current projects include an exhibition series at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and an educational initiative in public schools.
FRIDAY ARTS tours the collection through touring the offices. In doing so, we discover “The Hot Hall” – the place where the more disturbing (as expressed anonymously by the people working there through a well-established mechanism) works are relegated. We talk with Al and Paige West and Lee Stoetzel, the curator of the West Collection about “The Hot Hall” as well as how the collection started and how the artworks themselves ended up in SEI’s offices.
Wayne’s Four Points
Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly, Edited by Andrew Arcangeli
Wayne Withrow, the executive vice president of SEI investments, gives four major reasons as to why their firms “unconventional artwork” not only stirs the pot of controversy within the work environment, but also strengthens and enhances the notion of creative thinking throughout all aspects of their business ventures and client interactions. Lee Stoetzel, the director of the West Collection at SEI investments, echoes his enthusiasm as he briefly describes the process behind how the artwork is collected and selected for display, as well as the philosophy behind a truly unique company which challenges it’s employees to promote open conversations along with open minds.