Art Programs Go Regional

Thematic art programming in hospitality interiors has given way to a regionalized approach that celebrates an area’s unique history and showcases its artists. Here’s what you need to know.

The artwork adorning the walls of public and guestroom spaces of large hospitality brand properties has traditionally been based on consistency from property-to-property. And while this approach still has its place in the development of hospitality art programs, it’s typically specified by limited-service hotel owners who benefit from incorporating the standards package.

From their perspective, hospitality art programs, developed with consistency in mind, reinforce the hotel’s signature brand and appeal to a distinctive target market: the repeat business traveler seeking out the familiar. For example, a focal point lobby mural appearing in a Dallas hotel will be replicated and positioned in exactly the same way across all of the company’s properties, no matter where they are found in the world.

But even with the push for standardization and familiarity, the concept of “sense of place,” which highlights characteristics unique to a geographic region while fostering the value of authentic human attachment and belonging, has created the demand for an alternative approach to hospitality art programs. 

This “destination-driven” or “regionalized” approach to designing art programs enhances the guest experience for both the corporate and leisure traveler looking to make a connection with the area’s history, culture and personality.

According to Pam Niemann, principal with Niemann Interiors in Winter Park, Fla., “Hoteliers do see the value of personalizing the art to their location, and are incorporating city-specific highlights into their art programs.” 

She comments about her experience with the process during her firm’s remodel of the Hampton Inn in downtown Denver. “Our concept was to meld traditional Denver architecture with modern … where classic meets edgy. The art program played a major role in furthering the new design concept by utilizing photography of established landmark buildings overlaid with color blocks to create an abstract effect.” This approach supports the value of a regionalized art program, as well as customized art solutions in furthering the image development efforts of limited-services brands.

According to Stacey Greene, vice president of project management with Inland American Lodging Advisor, “We’re seeing a proliferation of projects across multiple brands requesting that art programs are destination-driven. Travelers, whether it’s for business or pleasure, really seem to enjoy making the personal connection with a city’s historical landmarks, its culture and environment.”

For some guests, regionalized art programs have a global effect on the traveler’s experience, creating memories based on insights the program offers about the destination’s historical significance. “There is a sense of discovery that awaits the guest on arrival at their new destination. The art can create excitement, anticipation and further develop the guest’s total trip agenda and experience,” Niemann says.

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