The first thing you notice when you walk into the Graduate Nashville Hotel is an 8ft by 15ft portrait of Grand Ole Opry star Minnie Pearl. While images of favorite country songs aren’t out of the ordinary in Music City, the medium used for their likeness in this case is. It’s a hooked mat with a shaggy chewing gum pink background.
“It’s definitely surprising,” said general manager Greg Bradley. This isn’t the property’s only unexpected artwork. Art adds an element of storytelling to the hotel. Its design is inspired by the journey of a fictional singer-songwriter trying to make it in Nashville, crashing into a friend’s couch (hence the multitude of mismatched vintage-inspired sofas in the lobby) all the way to the top of the charts (represented by the all-pink fever dream inspired by Dolly Parton who is White Limozeen, the rooftop bar).
While that might seem like overkill for those used to crashing into hotels where every room features the same mass-produced paint or print, the Graduate Nashville actually follows a growing trend. More and more hotels across the country are striving to integrate the gallery into the guest experience, with the goal of sharing and initiating conversations, making art accessible, educating and Inspire.
Many avant-garde hotels, such as the Art in Denver and the Alexander in Indianapolis, work with local artists to showcase their portfolios for a specific length of time or to commission unique pieces to display on location. indefinitely.
Promoting local talent has also been part of the lifeblood of Saint Kate, a Milwaukee hotel. Curator Samantha Timm said the owners have long been patrons of the area’s art scene and are keen to share their passions with others.
“We believe that the arts encourage conversations with others and that everyone should be able to find something to connect with,” said Timm, adding that his job is to make art in the hotel fun, exciting. and accessible to everyone, including both. die-hard fans and occasional observers.
Timm said that Saint Kate tries to celebrate the visual arts, the performing arts and everything in between. In addition to the permanent collection, present in all public spaces on the first and second floors, six different gallery spaces rotate in Art Nouveau every three months or so, all free and open to the public. While there are works by very established artists, such as sculptor Deborah Butterfield, there are many exhibits aimed at showcasing and uplifting early-career Midwestern artists, such as current exhibitor Anwar Floyd-Pruitt.
For a deeper dive into the collection, guests can choose to stay in one of the four “canvas rooms”. Each was commissioned from a local artist to decorate as he saw fit. (Lon Michels’ ‘Leopard Room’, for example, features floor-to-ceiling animal prints in a multitude of patterns and colors.) Whenever a guest stays in one of the canvas rooms, the The hotel donates a percentage of the profits to local art. organizations.
While actual museums can come at a steep price, the vast majority of art hotel collections are free and open to the public.
The Aspen Meadows Resort, like Saint Kate, also has curators on staff to oversee the many resort artwork within the hotel (including various outdoor sculptures) and help answer questions.
Guests can arrange a private tour with a curator or take a self-guided tour of the open galleries, as well as outdoor art installations spread across the 40-acre campus in Aspen, Colorado, following the routes listed in the available brochures. in all the grounds. (Saint Kate and The Nashville Graduate also offer self-guided tours, though theirs are app-related.)
Much of the complex’s Resnick Art Gallery focuses on the work of Herbert Bayer, who also designed Aspen Meadows in the 1950s, while the Paepcke Art Gallery features a rotating collection. Construction is also underway on the new Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies, which is slated to open in 2022 and will include 11 galleries spread over approximately 7,500 square feet.
Other hotels that help make art appreciation more accessible include the Indigo Hotel in Santa Barbara, California, which serves as a satellite space for the Museum of Contemporary Art, and 21c Museum Hotels. (There are nine in the United States, with two more in the works.)
What is perhaps most remarkable about art hotels is that very often there are not the “do not touch” signs that you would see in a traditional museum. (However, this is not always the case, especially with fragile parts.)
“When we developed the concept of Gordon’s guest experience, I wanted the hotel to be a place where art could not only be displayed but made,” said Brian Obie, President and Principal Owner of Obie Companies. , which includes the Gordon Hotel in Eugene, Oregon. “I believe anyone can be an artist if they just have a chance to tap into their creativity and be given the tools, and sometimes the permission, to sit down and do something.”
One of the ways that manifests itself at the Gordon Hotel is in the Art Bar lobby. Visitors to the hotel can create their own masterpieces. The bar is not only stocked with Jack, Jim and Jose, but also a myriad of supplies, such as pencils and watercolors, as well as a very important industrial sink for cleaning up afterwards. Likewise, each of Saint Kate’s more than 200 rooms contains a ukulele, record player, and colored pencils.
Also in the lobby of the Gordon Hotel is the large-scale digital art installation titled “The Great Wall”. This installation is actually made up of 21 constantly evolving pieces (they are on TV screens) and was produced in partnership with the Harmonic Laboratory, an award-winning artistic collective also based in Eugene. Most of the works on display were created by art students at the University of Oregon. There are also over 160 pieces by 84 local artists (with an additional 75 pieces created by employees of Obie Companies). Obie said he hopes all of these mediums and designs will inspire his clients’ work, even if only for the short time they are within the hotel walls.
“When we travel, we’re often more open to trying new things,” Obie said. “I think it’s important to have a customer experience that not only shows people the art and visually stimulates them, but also actively encourages them to tap into their own individualistic expression is important.”