As we look ahead to 2018 (hi, Kansas City!), our team is reminiscing on our most memorable moments from the past year— and what a year it has been! Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite things that happened in 2017:
BCA 10: Every year the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) recognizes 10 businesses who transform their workplaces and communities through the arts. We were thrilled to be recognized, alongside fellow Louisville-based Humana, on this year’s BCA10.
Conde Nast Readers have spoken and they really, really love us. Another heartfelt thanks to our loyal penguin enthusiasts for putting all seven of our hotels on the list.
21c Nashville Grand Opening: We welcomed the Teal Penguin to our flock in May. It’s been 7 months and we still can’t get enough of Music City.
21c Artist Kehinde Wiley Chosen to Paint President Barack Obama’s Official Portrait: In October, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced the former President chose 21c Artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official portrait. The portrait will be unveiled as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection in 2018, where it will be displayed alongside Michelle Obama’s portrait by Amy Sherald.
BuzzKill unveiled at The Hive: Johnston Foster’s immersive site-specific installation, BuzzKill, transforms The Hive inside 21c Bentonville into a work of art itself. Featuring kudzo vines, swarms of bees and a glowing honeycomb, BuzzKill uses the folklore and fauna native to Northwest Arkansas and highlights today’s environmental crisis facing the honeybee and other endangered species.
Sharon Louden book tour: Artist and educator Sharon Louden included each 21c Museum Hotel as a stop on her book tour showcasing The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life. At each talk, Sharon encouraged local artists and fostered inspiring conversations. Sharon has one more stop on her 21c tour— catch her in Bentonville on January 25th.
Creative Time Pledges of Allegiance: Conceived in response to the current political climate, Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of community among cultural institutions, and begin articulating the urgent response our political moment demands. Beginning in August, 21c Durham raised a new artist-designed flag each month in conjunction with Creative Time & partner institutions across the country.
GE First Build Hotel Room of the Future Contest: We partnered with GE First Build to challenge designers, engineers and artists to submit their designs for the Hotel Room of the Future. After dozens of innovative submissions and a tight round of community voting, “The Experience of the Future” — complete with a LED entertainment wall and dedicated concierge station —was announced as the winner.
Artspace Partnership: In collaboration with Artspace and Phaidon, we produced Destinations, a series of guides, interviews and articles about the burgeoning art scenes in Louisville, Nashville and Bentonville. You’ll also find our Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites’ favorite books from Phaidon and exclusive limited editions from 21c Artists, like Sebastiaan Bremer’s print.
With such an exciting year behind us, it’s hard to imagine what 2018 will bring. From our flock to yours, Happy New Year!