Acclaimed Seattle Artists Bequeathing Collection to Seattle University

Art collection from Dennis Evans and Nancy Mee includes many well-known Northwest and First Nations artists.

Renowned Seattle artists Dennis Evans and Nancy Mee announced they are bequeathing their considerable personal art collection to Seattle University. Thanks to their generosity, the university’s permanent collection is growing by more than 250 pieces and, additionally, a significant endowment will enhance academic opportunities in visual art, art history, curatorship and potentially a chair for the study of Northwest art.

“Art has always been an important part of the Jesuit educational tradition,” says President Eduardo Peñalver. “This remarkable gift will enrich the artistic experience of our students, nourishing their spirits and inspiring their imaginations as they move through our campus. Seattle University is so grateful that our entire community will be able to cherish this collection for generations to come.”

As part of the “Dennis Evans and Nancy Mee Collection Gift & Endowment” the artworks and objects will be displayed in appropriate areas and departments across campus and be used in an educational context, such as to enhance a course or program that draws from themes or features an artist whose work is included in the collection.

Roughly 150 of the pieces are Contemporary Northwest Art, with 85 different artists represented, many contributing multiple works. The artists include Alden Mason, Steve Jensen, Guy Anderson, Joseph Goldberg, Gene Gentry McMahon, Julie Speidel, Gloria DeArcangelis, Michael Spafford, Spike Mafford and Mary Ann Peters. 

“One of the great things about this gift is these pieces will be on the walls on all the buildings. Generations are going to look at them, learn from them. It’s a teaching tool as well as a safeguard of the art,” says Evans. “And I consider this collection like our ancestors, our teachers, our students.”

“Other institutions or galleries don’t necessarily have the audience (of Seattle University) that we know on a daily basis will see this work, that people of all walks of life will be able to view it. That was the impetus to keep it together,” adds Mee. “The art will keep living inside a community that birthed it, lived it. … Our true value in this collection is that it encompasses 50 years of creative-making in our region and celebrates local artists.”

For media inquiries, contact Lincoln Vander Veen at or 425-830-2448.

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Thursday, December 7, 2023