The idea behind 21c museum hotel
The bold decision to open a contemporary art museum open to the public free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and to combine it with Louisville’s first boutique hotel would create both an economic driver for the community and an oasis where art challenges, amuses, stimulates conversation, and provokes new ideas.
Breathes new life into a city
Brown and Wilson partnered with world-renowned architect Deborah Berke to reimagine a series of five deteriorating 19th century buildings along Louisville’s West Main Street, with a design that highlighted the original brick, timber, and cast iron construction. The result was 21c Museum Hotel, a 90-room boutique hotel with 9,000 square feet of exhibition space and an award-winning restaurant featuring locally and sustainably raised foods. The property opened in March 2006 and it wouldn’t be the last, a hotel in Cincinnati was on the horizon.
Becomes a smash success
With the success of the Louisville property, came opportunities for expansion. Brown and Wilson founded 21c Museum Hotels in 2007 to oversee the expansion and management of 21c Museum Hotel nationally. With strong local partners who share the belief that art can be an economic driver for a community, 21c is expanding to new cities throughout the country- including a hotel in downtown Cincinnati. 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati is the second property to open and continues Brown and Wilson’s mission to share innovative new art and ideas with the public. The Cincinnati museum hotel opened to acclaim and the company opened its third hotel in Bentonville, AR in February 2013; and projects have been announced in Lexington, KY and Durham, NC.
With a bright future
21c’s growth and expansion presents the opportunity to share Brown and Wilson’s original goals – to collect and exhibit the work of living artists and to integrate contemporary art into daily life – with new cities. These goals, as well as a desire to bring today’s most dynamic and engaging art to the public, have been Brown and Wilson’s mission, a mission that has transformed downtown Louisville into an internationally recognized cultural center. As 21c expands, their passion for supporting and sharing contemporary art with both new and existing audiences will continue to shape 21c’s programming in each venue, creating a unique combination of local engagement with a broad, global reach.