Client: Crossroads hotel
Location: Kansas City, MO, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $80,000
David Dowell, AIA
Senior Project Manager
Crossroads Hotel celebrates Kansas City’s leading contemporary artists through quarterly exhibitions and an ongoing artist-in-residence program. The Crossroads Hotel Gallery is an ever-changing exhibition space curated by Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) and organized by CAMH and El Dorado, the hotel’s architect. Through rotating exhibitions, the hotel’s vibrant entry transforms into an artist-driven place that highlights the cultural vitality of Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. Since its opening in 2018, the hotel has dedicated 2,000 square feet to exhibitions, new artist commissions, performances, and immersive experiences that intimately connect visitors to the creative life of the district.
Every three months, project curators invite an artist to take over the gallery. Artists have few constraints and the freedom to conceive a project that takes advantage of a 24/7 environment. The gallery never closes, the hotel’s doormen greet visitors, and artists work in a space whose audience far exceeds the typical contemporary art gallery or museum. Over the last four years, projects have ranged from an artist who wrapped cars in the gallery, to a meditative temple throughout the deepest months of the pandemic, to a durational drawing that took three months to complete.
The goals for integrating commissioned artwork into the Crossroads Hotel project were twofold: to celebrate the cultural vibrancy of Kansas City's arts community and create unique and unexpected experiences for hotel guests. This was vital to the overall design of the hotel, as it aimed to establish a deep connection with the local community and provide an enriching environment for visitors.
By dedicating 2,000 square feet to a rotating gallery space, the project aimed to actively engage with and support local artists. Rotating exhibitions, artist commissions, and performances not only showcase the talent of the community but also reflect the ever-changing energy of the Crossroads Arts District.
By offering resources and opportunities for artists to create new works, the artist-in-residence program ensures a continuous influx of fresh artistic expression within the hotel. This integration of new artworks adds an element of dynamism and surprise, creating a captivating experience for guests.
Overall, the integration of commissioned artwork into the Crossroads Hotel project established a sense of place, celebrating local talent, and provided an immersive experience that not only enhances the aesthetics of the hotel but also contributes to the cultural vitality of Kansas City.
This project was realized through unique, multi-disciplinary collaboration. First, the Aparium Hotel group recognized the importance of the artists' community to the Crossroads neighborhood. As Kansas City’s longstanding arts district, the goal was to infuse contemporary art and artists into the social life of the hotel. The hotel’s architect, El Dorado, worked closely with the project team to create an integrated art collection comprised of Kansas City-based artists alongside prominent artists with ties to the city.
Further, the hotel’s primary public space — a vast ground floor lobby, which was originally a Pabst brewing distribution hub, has been transformed into a “living room for the neighborhood.” The cornerstone of this highly public space is the gallery, which is reimagined every three months by newly commissioned artworks, curated by CAMH.
Our team is proud that our ongoing collaboration is driven by artists who infuse life into the hotel, which serves as a primary social hub in downtown Kansas City. These exhibitions and performances complement a larger suite of activations throughout the hotel, ranging from rooftop yoga to weekend runs, and Sunday artist talks. Today, it fully reflects the dynamism and evolution of the Crossroads.
As an artist making architecturally scaled, public, performative drawings, working for three months on 'Chronotopic Accumulation’ at the Crossroads Hotel was the highlight of this body of work to this point. The intersection of multiple timelines, the shifting gaze of the public, the changing light, the long-making duration, the multi-day viewing duration, and constantly shifting energy rhythms all contributed to and felt conceptually connected to the work, But the human interactions and conversations with viewers, visitors, and staff of the hotel made my experience truly rewarding. - Artist, Kevin Townsend At the Crossroads Hotel Art Gallery, a magnetic convergence of dynamic individuals sets the stage for limitless creativity, where the constraints of rules dissipate, opening avenues for captivating creations that enthrall our hotel visitors. It's a space where our guests can bear witness to the artists' artistic process one week, and the next, unexpectedly find themselves indulging in a delectable serving of Curry Chicken within an artist-driven one-night café experience. Within the realm of this art gallery, the tapestry of infinite possibilities gracefully unfurls, beckoning our guests to partake day and night. Jeremy Bennett, Director of Lifestyle – Crossroads Hotel