On a gorgeous summer evening in Milwaukee, over 500 artists, makers, guests, and supporters came together to christen Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel as it officially opened its doors to the community. Drawing inspiration from Saint Catherine, the patron saint of artists, Saint Kate is among the first hotels in the nation to broadly celebrate art in its many forms – from painting and sculpture to dance and drama.
“At Saint Kate, we are curating an experience designed to stir one’s imagination, invite exploration, and challenge thinking,” said Greg Marcus, president and CEO of the Marcus Corporation, which owns and manages Saint Kate. “More than an exquisite hotel, Saint Kate is a powerful reminder of the beauty that can be found in the creative process. Whether you’re conceiving something big and bold, or quiet and subtle, Saint Kate is here to support, empower, and instigate.”
Russell Bowman, former director of the Milwaukee Art Museum and founding art advisor of Sculpture Milwaukee; Linda Marcus, nationally recognized multidisciplinary artist, designer, and storyteller; along with Saint Kate Curator Maureen Ragalie, formerly of the David Zwirner Gallery and Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York, oversaw the development of the hotel’s permanent art collection and special exhibits, including over 100 works by artists influential in contemporary art.
Upon entering the hotel, guests are welcomed by a life-sized cast bronze Deborah Butterfield horse sculpture, “Big Piney.” Next, a large lithograph by renowned figurative painter Alex Katz sets the tone at check in, and throughout the first floor, guests can find works by Paul Druecke, Terry Winters, Michelle Grabner, John Riepenhoff, Judy Ledgerwood, Damien Hirst, Candida Höfer, Sky Hopinka, Beth Lipman, and Mickalene Thomas.
As guests take the stairs to the second floor, they are struck by the awe-inspiring “Plume 02,” from Jason S. Yi, a site-specific installation that references the beautiful yet destructive nature of smoke plumes. Next to Jason S. Yi’s “Plume 02” is Tom Bamberger’s “Red Grass,” a digitally altered panoramic photograph that explores the horizon and naturally repetitive landscapes.
Each floor also reflects a form of art — photography, industrial design, painting, mixed media, music, printmaking, illustration, and performance — and celebrates the diversity of Milwaukee’s growing artistic community. Photographs of the hands of the hotel’s construction team indicate each floor number in American Sign Language, evidencing authorship of the space and proof positive of their creative roles.
Through a historic collaboration, the Museum of Wisconsin Art established its first downtown location, MOWA | DTN, at Saint Kate. The 1,700-square-foot premier gallery in the lobby of the hotel currently features its inaugural exhibition, titled “Downtown,” which considers the vibrant historic traditions of Milwaukee’s core as well as the social realities that characterize its urban environment. The exhibition includes work by ten artists who live and/or work in Milwaukee. It runs through September 8, 2019.