Art has long decorated the walls of hotels across the world, but one spot in particular in downtown Charleston integrates art into the experience a little more than others.
It's Charleston's art hotel, The Vendue.
When the current owners purchased the property in 2012, they knew they wanted to renovate it in a way that would reflect and support the city's rich culture.
"With so many art galleries in the French Quarter, it made perfect sense to pursue the idea of an art hotel," says The Vendue Art Director Emily Curran, who used to be involved with the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. "We have formed partnerships with several local galleries that we feel are helping to bring adventurous, progressive contemporary art to the Lowcountry. It’s a great addition to the history and tradition of the area."
At any given time, The Vendue features approximately 400 works of art throughout the property. According to Curran, it’s really in every nook and cranny. The goal is to inspire guests at every turn and give visitors a taste of Charleston’s growing art community.
Also, everything on the walls is for sale, and 100 percent of those sales go back to the associated galleries and artists.
Curran says she helps organize several exhibits annually, including a few themed group exhibits in the main lobby and several smaller exhibits in the hotel's Gallery 26.
"Overall, things are changing all the time," she says. "Something probably changes or moves almost every day."
Former exhibits include "Homage," in which 30 local artists created a piece inspired by an artist who was influential to their career, and "Cats vs. Dogs," which pitted the two beloved pets against each other in an epic art showdown. A portion of the sales, totaling $15,000, was even donated to the Charleston Animal Society.
Curran teamed up with the Langes, of Queen Street gallery Robert Lange Studios, for the newest exhibit coming to The Vendue in April, "Fortunate." The Langes came up with the exhibit idea a few years ago, and this will be a repeat of the same concept.
For the exhibit, 30 artists are challenged to create a work inspired by a fortune from a fortune cookie.
A portion of sales this time around will benefit I Heart Hungry Kids, a nonprofit founded by the Silverman family of Charleston, who organizes monthly packing parties in collaboration with the Lowcountry Food Bank to be distributed to area schools into the backpacks of children in need.
"After the philanthropic tie with 'Cats vs. Dogs,' we decided 'Fortunate' would be the perfect opportunity to support those less fortunate," Curran says.
Artists from all over are participating in "Fortunate," including John Duckworth, Jo Hay, Amanda Krantz, Ken Hamilton and Denise Sanabria. Several mediums will be represented in the exhibit, including painting, sculpture, mixed media and collage.
The art pieces, along with their accompanying inspirational fortune cookie fortunes, will be on display inside The Vendue's Gallery 26 on the first floor at 19 Vendue Range. There will be a free opening reception from 6-8 p.m. April 18, featuring live music, complimentary cocktails and, of course, fortune cookies.