The School has a unique collection of contemporary Latvian art. In fact, it is the only permanent exhibition of such artwork in Riga.
The collection is comprised of several pieces of art specially made for the school –the Latvian artists Aija Zariņa, Kristaps Ģelzis, Ojārs Pētersons, Andris Breže, Juris Putrāms and Ieva Iltnere and the Polish painter Leon Tarasewicz have made their artwork exclusively for the school. Other artists like Oļegs Tillbergs, Ilmārs Blumbergs, and Barbara Muižnieks, have all adapted previously created pieces of art for the environment at SSE Riga. The majority of the collection was acquired during SSE Riga’s first year. Hence, the school has become a home for artwork that in the mid-1990s represented the most progressive wave of Latvian art.
One of the few paintings by a non-Latvian artist is the renowned Policy painter Leon Tarasewicz’ painting in one of the school’s two towers. Inspired by Tarasewicz’ painting the students painted (or actually “flowered”) the second tower during “Je Joue” – the School’s annual art week.
In October 2007 a bust of the Riga Lord Mayor 1901-1912, George Armitstead, was unveiled. The bust by sculpture Andris Varpa and architect Kristine Vizina stands in front of the school’s building on Strelnieku iela 4a – a building that was erected when George Armitstead served as Lord Mayor of Riga.
The exposition of modern art at the school was one man’s vision, the late Staffan Burenstam Linder (President of the Stockholm School of Economics) and founder of SSE Riga. As he put it after having had meetings with some of the Latvian artists and showing them the school: “Each of them has been invited to make a piece of art for the school. … The theory for this effort is … to provide an environment which gives a broad frame of reference thus stimulating creative thinking; to tell the students that they should cultivate interests which could never be part of our curriculum; to signal to them – and to society in general – that economics and business should be conducted with a responsibility to the wider community”.
The school is still faithful to this idea and continues to expand its collection through acquisitions of works by young Latvian artists. One of the latest additions to the SSE Riga art collection is a glass sculpture by Latvian artist Edgars Kvjatkovskis - the Key to Success – as a symbol of higher education.