Boulder, as a progressive city, deeply cares about the sustainability and health of the environment, NINE dot ARTS selected artworks wrestling with these issues for the hotel. As a part of Sage Hospitality’s art initiative to create mini-museums inside each and every Sage hotel, NINE dot ARTS curated Embassy Suites Boulder’s art collection around a central theme of the natural world. For the property, NINE dot ARTS focused this theme with softer, more organic yet unexpected and engaging works.
Rebecca DiDomenico’s commission, for example, presses responsibly-harvested butterfly wings from farms committed to increasing the world’s butterfly population intermixed with pieces of salvaged trash like brightly-colored plastic, which would otherwise take more than 500 years to decompose, between mica to create the scale-like components of the overall work. The piece preserves the beauty of nature while repurposing the detritus of the manmade world into something equally as stunning. Gary Emrich tackles water issues in his All Consumed #10 and #11, which he created by assembling discarded water bottle plastics and labeling. His Western-inspired landscapes use the elements of bottled water’s commercially-driven, throw-away, ubiquitous presence to make a powerful statement about the resource’s limited and shrinking supply. Jim Colbert’s Hanging Lake serves as a precious reminder of the mountain lake’s former vitality now that immense tourist traffic, graffiti and pollution has contributed to its diminishing water quality and trail erosion.
Artists such as Conor King, Kristen Hatgi Sink and Andrea Wallace explore the interactions between the human and natural worlds in their works. King’s panoramic work, Enclosure, incorporates handwritten notes and computer code into its depiction of a nature reserve, challenging notions of the physical world and our digital constructions of it. Hatgi Sink combines traditional portraiture and floral still life to explore notions of gender, decadence and beauty in her piece Andi. The flowers and the model appear almost as a single being. Andrea Wallace’s Sleep depicts a woman curled up in a snowy landscape. The aerial perspective and the woman’s exposed limbs speak to the immensity of the natural world compared to a single human’s presence.
Additionally, NINE dot ARTS wanted to bring Boulder’s natural environment inside the hotel. David Zimmer’s mixed media, video commission features songbirds and their music. Pichaske’s Kingdom consists of three Colorado animals – coyote, hare and mountain goat – each at two-thirds life size with exaggerated, hybrid and humanoid features. Pichaske creates the hare’s and goat’s fur coats from naturally-molted chicken feathers and found pinecone leaves. King staged his Untitled A, B and 5 photographs along Highway 93 between Boulder and Golden. In the guestroom bathrooms, Lindsey Wohlman’s Birds of Boulder I and II show bird species native to Boulder.
Finally, due to the hotel’s close proximity to CU Boulder and Sage’s long-standing commitment to partnering with higher education institutions, NINE dot ARTS sought work by current students, faculty and alumni to include in the hotel. Since CU Boulder’s Art Department faculty features some of Colorado’s top artists and several graduates have gone on to critical and commercial acclaim, NINE dot ARTS made a concerted effort to represent artists with ties to the university in the collection, and two thirds of the collection’s artists are connected to CU Boulder. Faculty members like Foundations Professor Michael Beitz and Visiting Lecturer in Printmaking Matt Christie have exhibited their work internationally while CU alums like Lindsay Pichaske have received prestigious awards.
The Embassy Suites Boulder art collection provides a cohesive and nuanced look at Boulder’s wildlife and natural environment that engages guests and highlights the local community. Because few opportunities in the area exist for artists to exhibit their work, the Embassy Suites Boulder art collection serves as a mini-museum for the Boulder region to showcase some of the best artistic talent living in the area and coming out of the university.
“NINE dot Arts has demonstrated its commitment, encouragement, and support of the Colorado arts landscape…not only by way of financial support of local artists as they managed over $2.5 million dollars in local art collections, but also in their works with state universities to curate their collections and offer guest lecture series as well as NDAs overall efforts to advance awareness for Colorado’s local artists.” Walter Isenberg, President & CEO, Sage Hospitality