Westin Hotel Showcase of Local Art
Downtown Westin Hotel Opens with Dazzling Display of Local ArtworkBy Lee Chilcote, Fresh Water
The new Westin Hotel in downtown Cleveland, which opened a few weeks ago, has transformed a formerly dreary concrete monolith into a showcase of modern design and local artwork, both inside and out. The contemporary facade includes a carefully screened parking garage and glassy facade that angles out towards the street to greet visitors as they approach. Inside the lobby, the warm, dark wood interior features chandeliers and a large art installation called "Cellular," a head fashioned from wooden mosaic tiles that was designed by local artist Olga Ziemska.
The exterior of the hotel also features a 30 foot tall mural of the Cuyahoga River Valley, a work of public art that can be enjoyed by both visitors and passersby.
Scattered throughout the hotel are more than 1,500 works by local artists, including Sarah Kabot, Liz Maugans, Michael Loderstedt, Dana Oldfather, Jen Craun and Anne Kibbe, to name a few. The operators of the hotel, Sage Hospitality, worked with the nonprofit group LAND Studio to select and feature artists in the lobby, public spaces and 400-plus guest rooms.
"This is kind of an incredible investment for a group from outside of Cleveland to make, and they did it because this was a way to make this project truly local," says Greg Peckham, Executive Director of LAND Studio. "It generates a tremendous amount of goodwill, but also a true investment in the local arts economy. This project put a job on the table for three local framers for a year. There's a lot of spinoff effect and benefit of this one small aspect of a $68 million project. It also feels distinctively Cleveland; it's not something you could find in another city."
For Peckham, Ziemska's striking sculpture is one example of the high-quality artwork found throughout the hotel. The work illustrates how humans are a part of nature, visually representing the correlations between the human body and natural world. It also highlights Cleveland's growing reputation as a sustainable city. The figure's eyes are closed, as if enjoying a restful night's sleep after an eventful day.
"I work a lot with natural materials," says Ziemska. "My work bridges the gap between humans and nature, to help us better understand our place in the world."
Ziemska is a Cleveland native who left Northeast Ohio after high school. When she returned for family reasons, she discovered a vibrant artistic community and began putting down roots. She has won several major awards and commissions since moving back to Cleveland, including twice being selected for an individual artist fellowship through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. "That grant has literally kept me here," she says. "I feel like there's such support for artists in Cleveland."
Peckham says that the artwork, which was handpicked by Sage executives, reflects several guiding themes, including connections between the manmade and natural environments and Cleveland's history as a place where people make things with their hands. Much of the artwork has been reproduced from originals in order to keep the overall project costs economical. The original artwork is largely hung on the 22nd and 23rd floors of the hotel, in the higher-end executive suites.
"The owners wanted to create a real streetscape -- they wanted people to come in, for it to be a living room for the city," explains Peckham. "People are invited and encouraged to come in regardless of whether or not they’re staying there."
Other features of the 484-room hotel include the farm-to-table steakhouse Urban Farmer, a 3,000-square-foot workout studio and 20,000 square feet of meeting rooms. The new Westin, which has undergone a complete renovation into a LEED-certified green building, is located at 777 St. Clair Avenue.
Slideshow: Local Art Adorns Inside, Out of the New Westin HotelPhotographer Bob Perkoski, Fresh Water
The new Westin Hotel in downtown Cleveland, which opened a few weeks ago, features more than 1,500 works of art by local artists. The exterior of the hotel offers both visitors and passersby a view of a 30-foot mural of the Cuyahoga River Valley, while the lobby contains a large art installation called "Cellular," a wooden mosaic designed by artist Olga Ziemska.
In this slideshow, Fresh Water photographer Bob Perkoski offers a visual tour of some of the artwork.