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8 Groundbreaking Exhibits to Catch at US Museums This Winter

By Liza Weisstuch
January 27, 2022
Pereira 2010 44
From art to design and from music to history, American museums are featuring winter shows that are guaranteed to impress.

Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and Dali will never cease to lure art-lovers to the grand exhibit halls of museums, but when it comes to special exhibits at American cultural institutions this winter, fashion, politics and activism, design, and science get top billing. Here are a few limited-run exhibits to catch that are sure to intrigue and inspire.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art - Kansas City, Missouri

Alleles Design Studio, a Canadian company, makes prosthetic leg covers in a huge range of designs and styles, giving amputees a way to express his or her own personality. Their works are part of the vast array of objects, equipment, and machines in “Access and Ability.”

Originally designed by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the exhibit spotlights forward-thinking designs from the past decade that have helped with the challenges of daily life that affect people with varying levels of disabilities. You’ll find pieces like an easy on/easy off shoe inspired by a child with cerebral palsy, hearing aids that double as blingy earrings, and a robotic therapy dog. Some items in the show are interactive, like eyeglasses that compensate for color blindness. Runs through February 9, 2020.

Philadelphia Museum of Art - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The most extreme haute couture collections that dominate the runway at Fashion Week events from Paris to New York pale in comparison to the works on display at “Off the Wall: American Art to Wear.”

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s playful fashion exhibit features 130 one-of-a-kind creations by 60 mixed-media artists who masterfully demonstrate how the body can be a canvas. Created between 1967 and 1997, the pieces reflect the energy and mood of their time, from hippie-fueled activism to futuristic innovation. Patterns influenced by international cultures, weaving techniques inspired by Latin American artisans, and appropriation of medieval and Renaissance fashions all play a critical role in the audacious pieces on display. Runs through May 17, 2020.

Museum of Contemporary Art - Chicago, Illinois

With all the headlines about immigration over the past few years, it’s important to consider the dense history of displacement. “Routes and Territories” features the works of three Latin American artists who explore how leaving one’s homeland affected societies and communities since the start of the colonization of the Americas through to today. Vast mural-like paintings, old manuscripts, wire sculptures and video track the profound social, personal and political impact of migration. Runs through April 19, 2020.

Library of Congress - Washington, DC

After seven decades of picketing and organizing and rallying, women finally earned the right to vote in August 1920. This coming year marks the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and with a historic election coming up, the Library of Congress has organized “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” a sweeping exhibit that pays tribute pioneering activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony as well as the countless women who drove what some call the biggest reform movement in US history.

The exhibit chronicles the origins of women’s suffrage in abolitionism through the fiery campaigns of the early 20th century. It features personal items like Anthony’s annotated copy of Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” as well as items like tote bags, sheet music, and cookbooks and other totems of support as the movement gained momentum. Runs through September 2020.

Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, Ohio

If an instrument is, as they say, merely an extension of a musician, then “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” will get you closer to rock legends than you ever imagined. Co-curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it ran to much acclaim from April through October, and the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, the show features over 100 instruments that belonged to icons and were used to perform some of the most familiar, game-changing songs in history like Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, The Who’s Keith Moon’s drum set, Patti Smith’s clarinet, and The Doors’ Ray Manzarek’s organ. Vintage concert posters and eccentric costumes boost the groovy mood. Runs through September 13, 2020.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston - Houston, Texas

Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated his presidency to preserving and furthering what’s become known as the Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want. Norman Rockwell, one of the best-known chronicler of everyday life in postwar America, gave a human face to each one of those freedoms in the now-iconic paintings he made in 1943, emotional images of everyday people in expressive scenes of family, prayer, and civic courage.

Norman Rockwell: American Freedom” at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is the first comprehensive exhibit dedicated to the Four Freedoms. The works are accompanied by historical documents, photos and artifacts, providing rich context Rockwell’s depictions. Runs through March 22, 2020.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - San Francisco, California

For as long as earthlings have gazed at the stars above, space travel has been a source of fascination. Created for the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk, “Suits, Habs and Labs for Outer Space” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a showcase of how designers envisioned life beyond this planet’s atmosphere.

The engaging exhibit features paintings of a free-floating space colony imagined by scientists in the early 1970s to models of living and research spaces on the moon designed by architects in the past decade to colorful 3D-printed prototypes of sleek alternatives to the bulky space suit, this show demonstrates how visionary dreamers imagined the seeming impossible becoming possible. Runs through January 20, 2020.

Baltimore, Maryland

The works of iconic women artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Elizabeth Calett sit side by side with lesser known but no less great painters like Marguerite Zorach and Maria Martinez. Baltimore Museum of Art’s landmark show, “By their Creative Force: American Women Modernists,” (a term taken from the writings of Virginia Woolf) consists of 20 carefully selected paintings, sculptures and decorative arts from the museum’s collection.

Together, the assortment shows how women participated in and contributed to 20th century art movements, from Abstract Expressionism to Cubism. This exhibit is part of 2020 Vision, the museum’s year-long initiative to celebrate female-identifying artists. Runs through July 5, 2020.

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Inspiration

5 Ways You Can Celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Berlin is a vibrant city known for its energy, art scene and historical past. This November marks the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying freedom and peace. With that momentous anniversary, Berliners and visitors from around the world will be celebrating throughout the month of November. Festivities will range from guided tours and memorials to art installations and festivals surrounding the division of Berlin, the Cold War and the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. Here are some must-see highlights that will be debuting in the coming weeks. Arts Festival From November 4th to the 10th, Berlin will be transformed into an incredible open-air exhibition. The city’s revolution will be commemorated at historic locations with large archive film and image projections, installations, concerts, lectures and more. The festival will conclude on the evening of November 9th at Brandenburg Gate, when the entire city will become the largest concert stage in the world. It will feature legendary musicians, bands and people that were involved in the Peaceful Revolution. Don’t miss the floating art installation made up of 30,000 handwritten messages by Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics. Post-concert, the festivities will continue through the night with dance parties in 27 clubs across Berlin. Because what’s Berlin without a dance party? Guided Tours Tour operators throughout the city are prepared for the influx of tourists visiting Berlin to commemorate the end of divided Germany. Whether you prefer biking, walking or riding in a bus, local tour operators are ready to take you back in time and teach you about the country’s exquisite history. GetYourGuide provides dozens of tours throughout Berlin, including an excursion based upon the secrets of the Communist Capital. During this walking outing, you’ll learn about life behind the Iron Curtain and the secrets of the Stasi secret police. Visit the embassies of four Cold War powers and discover crossing points of the Berlin Wall. The Palace of Tears is one famous border crossing point between East and West Berlin that has since become a museum with exhibitions about Berlin during the Cold War. Hotels have also jumped on board by offering tours in Berlin. Located in the former Western part of the city right near the border, Orania.Berlin is offering a special package in honor of the anniversary. It includes a two-hour tour of the Berlin Wall (which can be done by bike) for guests to learn about the history of the city's division, the struggle for freedom and the process of reunification. Train Trip Why not book an entire trip to learn about Germany’s fascinating history? Well Inntravel has made it pretty easy to do just that with their self-guided rail train, Beyond the Iron Curtain. Journey by rail between the iconic cities of Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden to discover how they emerged from the cloak of the Iron Curtain. Stay two nights in each city using Inntravel walking notes to marvel at their enduring cultural treasures. In Berlin, follow a route that traces its history taking in the magnificently restored Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and the Wall. Continue to Leipzig, best known for music, but where locals staged the largest protest demonstration in East German history. Last is Dresden which has risen from the ashes and been restored to its former glory. The package includes 6 nights’ accommodations, rail travel between Berlin-Leipzig-Dresden and city walking tour notes.Museums & Exhibits There are loads of museums and exhibits that are honoring the anniversary of the fall of the Wall. The Wall Museum East Side Gallery tells the full picture of the story of the Wall from the reasons for building the Wall to its dramatic fall in 1989. Their new exhibit is a multi-media experience that uses more than one hundred screens and projectors to guide viewers through the division of Germany. It chronicles the stories of how the wall changed people’s lives. And shows a unique perspective into the unknown side of the Cold War, showcasing the different perspectives from both the East and West by using newsreels from the 1960’s. If you want to be immersed in the history of Germany’s tumultuous past, this exhibit is surely where to do just that. 3D Reality Experience Augmented reality app MauAR, brings the Wall to life and allows users to visualize the division of Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Users can use the app in the camera view of their smartphone or tablet to point at spots where the wall previously stood to go back in time. Users can jump between three points in time – 1961, 1971 and 1981. The app will also debut five special episodes that will recount the story of the Berlin Wall and key moments in the history of the Peaceful Revolution. For example, users can travel back in time to the demonstration held on Alexanderplatz on November 4th, 1989.

Inspiration

The Best Day Trips from Anchorage

Perched on the very edge of the wilderness, Anchorage is the doorstep to an Alaskan adventure. Drive one of the two roads out of Anchorage for just 20 minutes in either direction, and the office buildings fade away and traffic lights turn into mountain-studded horizons, crystalline salmon streams and the bold promises of the Last Frontier. It’s no surprise that you’ll find some excellent day trips from Anchorage. Wilderness is just a few steps out of downtown, with mountains, wildlife and adventure all on offer. These following day trips are our favorites. Girdwood This little ski town – home to the state’s largest ski resort, Alyeska – is a 45-minute drive from Anchorage down the curvy two-lane Seward Highway. The drive itself is worth the trip as it’s lined on one side by the steep walls of the Chugach Mountains and Turnagain Arm on the other. You might spot Dall sheep, beluga whales, bald eagles, and the powerful bore tide churning up the Arm. Once in Girdwood, you’ll have plenty of great options to fill your day. The town is nestled in a rainforest valley and ringed by gorgeous peaks. Hike one of the many excellent trails, including one that takes you to a hand tram across a gorge (the Winner Creek Trail). If your legs aren’t feeling up to a climb, ride the Alyeska Aerial Tram up to the top of Mt Alyeska. You’ll have panoramic views of Turnagain Arm and multiple glaciers, and definitely some pics for your social media accounts. Don’t skip any meals in Girdwood; this tiny town has a disproportionate number of excellent restaurants. Try the Bake Shop for homey breakfasts and Jack Sprat for creative cuisine with a view. Come hungry and fuel up for your adventure, and then replenish those calories on the other side of it. Portage Valley Another 20 minutes down the highway from the Girdwood turnoff is the gorgeous Portage Valley. This 14-mile-long valley is packed with hanging glaciers, a rushing pastel-blue river, and, at the end, namesake Portage Glacier. The Trail of Blue Ice wanders alongside the two-lane Portage Valley Rd, offering gentle and family-friendly terrain for walking or cycling. At the end of the road is the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center, perched on a glacial lake bobbing with icebergs. Here you can watch an excellent film about the glacier, and learn more about this river of ice through interactive exhibits. Glacier viewing cruises to the face of Portage Glacier depart five times per day in summer. Just past the visitor center is North America’s longest highway-railroad combo tunnel. The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is 2.5 miles long and connects to the old military town of Whittier. Driving the tunnel is a unique experience and worth the exploration. Eagle River In the opposite direction, about half an hour up the Glenn Highway, is Eagle River. At first glance, this Anchorage bedroom community offers a collection of stores and restaurants. But the town offers some excellent hiking and wildlife spotting opportunities. At the end of Eagle River Road is the Eagle River Nature Center. Family-friendly, the center offers talks, classes and guided hikes of the area. You can wander along Eagle River, where the mountains tower in vertical walls, or along shorter loops with interpretive signs. This area is one of your best bets for spotting moose and even bears. Just off the highway from Anchorage is a turnoff for Hiland Rd. If you’re feeling up for an alpine hike, drive to the end of the road and head out to Eagle and Symphony Lakes. This trail meanders 5.5 miles through alpine meadows full of flowers and follows the south fork of Eagle River (really just a rushing stream at this point) until it reaches the two lakes at the end of a glacier-carved valley. The two lakes are markedly different from each other; one is a surreal, glacial blue, and the other dark and clear. Hatcher Pass Nestled into the Talkeetna Mountains, which are sharper than the nearby Chugach, is the green and dramatic Hatcher Pass. You’ll drive up the winding Palmer-Fishhook Rd to Independence Mine State Historical Park, where you can explore the outbuildings and tailings of this once-prosperous gold mine. Take a self-guided tour or read up on the history at the visitor center and museum. Several hiking trails branch off the road. One of the more popular ones is to Reed Lakes, a 7-9 mile round-trip hike that takes you to two ice blue lakes in a magical mountain ringed setting. It’s somewhat difficult and will take a full day, but the otherworldly valley is worth it. Finish your day with a meal with a view at Hatcher Pass Lodge or drive back to the farming community of Palmer for a farm-to-table meal.

This content is sponsored by Visit Anchorage
Inspiration

The Best Glamping Getaways In North America for Under $150

You don’t have to be Prince Harry on honeymoon to afford unforgettable glamping destinations. There are tons of budget-friendly glamping options throughout North America, places where incredible outdoor experiences are right next to plush hideaways. You just need to know where to find them. To research our new book, Comfortably Wild, we spent three years, traveling 73,000 miles across 9 countries in search of the best glamping destinations in North America. Even after staying at Relais & Châteaux treehouses and Forbes Five-Star Ranches, some of our favorite outdoor getaways were those under $150 a night. Packed with character, natural beauty, and unconventional experiences, these affordable picks will make you feel like you’ve struck it rich. Cassiar Cannery, British Columbia Take the train through the Canadian Rockies and along the Skeena River to the secret stop: Cassiar, the former metropolis of the BC fishing world. Over the course of 107 years, tens of thousands of workers from around the world ran 22 different canneries along these shores. The last one standing and longest consecutively operating cannery on the West Coast was none other than Cassiar. Walking the historic grounds with Justine Crawford and Mark Bell, owners of this salmon-cannery-turned-glamping retreat, this forgotten world comes into focus. With their vivid descriptions, you can imagine the expansive dock, net loft, machine shop, and general store bustling with life. The five jewel-colored cottages with waves lapping beneath their porches, once the homes of the cannery managers, are now yours to enjoy. Take a jet boat to see the remnants of fellow canneries, or catch some salmon of your own. Want to dig deeper into the area’s history, ecology, or meditative qualities? You’ll love their multiday retreats. Luna Mystica, New Mexico What do you get when you cross Airstream trailers, a brewery, a music venue, and snowcapped mountains with an art colony? Glamping heaven. Taos Mesa Brewery was built on 24 acres to relish the stunning scenery of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and have ample space for festival camping. Seeing people enjoy themselves at multiday concerts, brewery cofounder Dan Irion and his brother Ryan (a civil engineer that designs RV parks), had the brilliant idea to create Luna Mystica. Each camper has been renovated with the stories of their original owners and travel history top of mind. You’ll meet Ralphie, the Airstream who spent 55 years cruising the valleys of New Mexico, and Rosie, who was in a traveling circus and decorated to reflect her gypsy flair. Staying next to the hottest music venue in Taos affords a rare combo of being in nature and the heart of the action. For even more culture, you’re 15 minutes from the art galleries downtown and the Unesco World Heritage site of Taos Pueblo. Honaunau Farm, Hawaii With the opportunity to watch the lava flow at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, stargaze from the tallest mountain in the Pacific, and stroll green sand beaches, anyone would want to stay on the island of Hawaiʻi – but you’re the savvy traveler that knows a big-box hotel isn’t the way to experience its natural beauty. Stay at Honaunau Farm and you’ll have pristine forest all the way from your ocean-view cottage to Mauna Loa volcano. From this organic farm, you can easily access the tourist attractions while having the local insights and hands-on access to Hawaii’s bounty. See the landscape from the eyes of a permaculturist, learn the latest in medicinal hemp, take a class on regenerative farming, and eat all the tropical fruit you can carry back to your safari tent or tea house. Honaunau brings the Big Island back to its purest form. The Cozy Peach, Arizona Planting seeds since 1941, the Schnepfs are excellent farmers, nationally renowned for their peaches, but their ambitions were always bigger than stone fruit. Looking to celebrate the farming heritage of Maricopa County, Arizona, they have restored the area’s historic farmhouse buildings, created a U-pick veggie patch, and they host nearly 100 days worth of festivals per year. To further immerse guests into their 300 acres of orchards, forest, and fields, they opened Cozy Peach glamping, with 10 vintage travel trailers. Just the right blend of nostalgic and contemporary, each camper has been polished like a gem. Take one of the complimentary John Deere bicycles for a ride among 5,000 peach trees, and join the farm happenings – including gardening, a cooking class, or one of their multiday festivals with live music, vintage amusement rides, and crafts. Dreamsea Surf Camp, Costa Rica Tamarindo, Costa Rica, is known as one of the world’s best beaches to learn surfing. Dive in with a seven-night stay at Dreamsea’s surf-camp-meets-yoga-retreat. Settle into your bell tent, complete with private deck to enjoy the jungle’s tropical birds and acrobatic howler monkeys, and meet your professional instructors and new surf buddies. Try the breaks at any of their four neighboring beaches, then stretch it out each evening with some downward dog. Promoting a healthy lifestyle, the chefs embrace Costa Rica’s tropical bounty and spice it up with global recipes. Stay for a one- or two-week session (it’s all-inclusive for less than $100 per person per day), or make it a true Endless Summer by applying to be a volunteer in exchange for free room & board (yeah, both kinds). Mendocino Grove, California Many city folk like the idea of a nature getaway, but may feel a little better knowing that top-notch restaurants, art galleries, and Pilates studios are nearby (you know, in case of emergency). When the founders of Mendocino Grove spotted a property on the wooded bluffs of the Pacific, just a quarter-mile from downtown, they thought, “This is the yin and yang we all need.” Mendocino was once a prosperous logging town with Victorian mansions but today the 19th-century buildings are now home to bookstores, coffee shops, organic markets, and fantastic restaurants. Trees once cut at the mills are now protected by seven state parks within a 10-mile radius. From Mendocino Grove, you can access hikes into the grand fir forest, vegan white-tablecloth meals, and award-winning theater…without even getting into a car. Though with a camp this seductive, you might never make it to town. Breakfast is served in the meadow followed by weekend yoga, your tent has ocean views, and a s’mores kit can be delivered right to your fire ring. Good Knights, Alberta Inspired by the fanciful architecture, decor, and pursuits of medieval European nobility, Good Knights is where you can play princess and feel like a king. After a decade of hosting a Renaissance fair–style festival on their property in the Alberta countryside, they decided to keep the fantasy going for guests all summer long. They built a feast hall, longbow archery range, tournament field, classical arts studio, and lavish tents, all in 14th-century fashion. In 2017 they opened their wooden gates and were an instant hit with the fantasy crowd. But the real test of their success? Skeptics like us. We initially came for the novelty of Good Knights, but after seeing everyone dressed up, learning new skills, and frolicking in merriment, we couldn’t resist the magic of this place. Great Huts, Jamaica After working as a physician around Jamaica for decades, Dr. Paul Rhodes had a vision for a resort that would celebrate the country’s West African roots and aid his humanitarian work. Collaborating with local architects and artists, Great Huts has built African-inspired structures with motifs from the Akan, Igbo, Ibibio, Mandingo, and Yoruba tribes (from which most Jamaicans descend). Bamboo huts, almond treehouses, stone towers, millet silos, and royal-themed rooms showcase African art and antiques alongside local works. More than 250 pieces of art adorn the seaside property, and various cultural events, including four-day art and film festivals, happen throughout the year. A portion of each guest’s stay and all proceeds from the festivals support eastern Jamaica’s only homeless rehabilitation center, cofounded by Dr. Paul (as he’s fondly called around the island). If you’re looking for even more good vibes at Great Huts, just practice yoga overlooking the Caribbean Sea, soak in the cliffside pool, or dance the night away to live reggae. Campera Hotel Burbuja, Mexico One of the only bubble hotels in North America, Campera Hotel Burbuja’s spherical tents line up like a string of pearls against the Docepiedras vineyard of Baja California. A well-crafted French design pressurizes the bubble so that only a thin clear wall separates you from the vines and the Milky Way. Draw back the privacy curtains on your canopy bed and catch a shooting star without leaving your silky sheets. Wake up to a sea of vines and a day of vineyard hopping at Valle de Guadalupe’s 80 wineries, or just open your minibar to sample the wines grown from grapes outside your see-through door. Asheville Glamping, North Carolina Joanna Cahill doesn’t just own Asheville Glamping; she lives it. While dreaming up the concept for this ultra-hip glamp camp, Joanna lived in a yurt she built herself. When she was able to buy the rolling hills just 10 miles north of downtown, she moved into a vintage trailer to save up for geodesic domes. Today the 18-acre property is a glamper’s candy shop, with 5 completely different structures – from bell tents to treehouses. Having started this glamping business in her 20s, she knows what millennials want—a two-story dome with a corkscrew slide to get down to the living room. They want the opportunity to chill around a firepit with views to the Blue Ridge Mountains and hop an Uber when there’s a good indie band in “Beer City,” USA. So whether you’re a hipster or a hiker rolling through North Carolina, you know where to stay. This article is adapted from Comfortably Wild: The Best Glamping Destinations in North America, published by Falcon Guides and written by Mike & Anne Howard of HoneyTrek.com.

Inspiration

Seven Top Mural Hotels in the U.S.

Have you ever stayed in two different hotels on separate coasts and seen the same art prints in each? You’re not alone. Hotels have long rubber-stamped their art collections, though that’s changing. The Alexander hotel in Indianapolis, for one, has an accredited art museum curating its collection. Hotels are also coloring outside the frame and decorating with street-art-turned-interior-décor. Some hotels commission internationally known artists to create one-of-a-kind murals, while others hire locally to give the interior a distinctive sense of place. Either way, the muralists transform the hotels into pieces of art in their own rights. Here are seven hotels with the best – and yes, most Instagram-able – murals in the country. Mural by Asend at Hotel Chicago West Loop, courtesy of the hotel Hotel Chicago West Loop Chicago, Illinois Six rooms in Hotel Chicago West Loop’s art-centric annex immerse guests in Windy City culture. Chicago-based artists including Josh Grotto, Brandin Hurley, Elloo, and Ascend have lent their talents to mural rooms, which showcase Chicago architecture, music, and history. Ascend’s work is exhibited locally and internationally, including in top-notch art fairs like Art Basel; his paintings combine a classical approach to portraiture with contemporary backgrounds. When not in use, the street-art rooms are open for viewing, giving the public a chance to see the works outside hallowed museum halls or traditional galleries. The artistry is growing: In late 2019, street artists will install another six eye-popping guestroom murals. Art students will join the artists for mentorship during the installation of the new murals. Hotel Chicago West Loop plans eventually to install paintings in the majority of its 116 rooms. From $119 Nativo Lodge Albuquerque, New Mexico Heritage Hotels & Resorts called upon a stable of contemporary Native American artists to paint 47 guest rooms (and counting) with murals. The rooms feel like living inside an artwork; they touch every wall and even flow into the bathroom and vanity spaces. Their artwork is rooted in cultural traditions and symbolism, but it’s expressed in vibrant and surprising ways. For example, in Love Movement, Jaque Fragua researched pre-Columbian Mesoamerican pottery designs in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and expressed these designs in a hot-pink background splashed with gold paint. In Sustenance, Warren Montoya expresses traditional hunting practices of the Pueblo (Native American) people in the Rio Grande Valley. From $118. Hotel Des Arts San Francisco, California Hotel Des Arts certainly lives up to its artistic name: More than fifty guest rooms show installations or edgy, graffiti-art inspired murals. Internationally known street artists including Shepard Fairey, David Choe, Buff Monster, Jeremy Fish and Casey O’Connell have painted the one-of-a-kind room. David Cloe, a Los Angeles artist who painted room 304, has collaborated with everyone from Facebook to Jay-Z. Shepard Fairy, the South Carolina artist behind room 210, is perhaps most well-known for illustrating former President Barack Obama’s “Hope” campaign poster. From $159 Hotel McCoy Tucson, Arizona In its first life, Hotel McCoy was a 1969 motor lodge, but in the fall of 2018 new owners transformed it into an art hotel. Hotel McCoy has worked with 48 (and growing) Tucson artists on the outdoor murals, and via the lobby art gallery and in-room art. The murals capture Tucson’s creative side. They serve another purpose, too: “The inspiration behind my idea to incorporate art comes from my love of travel and addressing the feeling of homesickness that comes from it,” says Nicole Dahl, general manager and creative director. “When we travel, often our hotel leaves us feeling empty, disconnected if you will. We wanted to fix that and offer people a place where they could stay and feel a connection.” From $109 Hotel Vintage Portland Portland, Oregon Graffiti artist Andrew Horner freestyled three of Hotel Vintage Portland’s original murals in 2015. Just him, spray paint, and inspiration emanating from Portland’s sub-cultures. He incorporated Portland landmarks and symbols, like roses after the City of Roses’ nickname, in paintings located in a game lounge, downstairs hallways, and the main entrance stairwell. In 2016, this trio doubled when Viva La Free, a Portland non-profit that teaches at-risk youth to use art for healing, painted three additional murals on the fences of the Urban Soak Suites. The hotel is an urban outpost in Oregon’s wine country, the Willamette Valley, and the murals have a (perhaps surprising) similarity to wine: Just as a wine’s flavor blossoms with each sip, the murals reveal hidden elements over time. From $218 W Hotel Bellevue Bellevue, Washington The artists behind W Hotel Bellevue’s six murals may hail from outside the Pacific Northwest, but they certainly capture its vibe. Baltimore-based street artist Gaia gives a lesson in the past, present, and future of Bellevue in Settler Futurity. The towering, three-story mural on the main stairwell showcases the city’s agricultural roots with depictions of strawberry fields, and points to its present and future with aviation references. Other murals include three by Japanese-born and Brooklyn-based Lady Aiko, and two murals by San Francisco artist Zio Ziegler. The W brand hotels emphasize design and the Bellevue edition lives up to that mission. From $289. Mural by Chaz Bear at Ace Hotel and Swim Club, courtesy of the hotel Ace Hotel & Swim Club Palm Springs, California The hoteliers behind Ace Hotel & Swim Club had an artistic eye when they reimagined a 1965 Westward Ho Hotel and former Denny’s restaurant as a mid-century modern hotel and King’s Highway restaurant. They outfitted the hotel with vintage furniture and a sun-washed bohemian design. Each year, the hotel invites a new artist to complete a mural on the property ahead of Desert Gold, a twelve-day Coachella oasis that includes meditative sound baths and wellness pop-ups. In 2018, Laura Berger used desert hues in Lifting the Sun, which speaks to humanity’s interconnectivity. In 2019, Chaz Bear painted vibrant florals in Desert Void, which reflects upon the experience of living in the desert. From $159

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