Most hotel art is pretty unedifying. The most stimulating work is usually print-based, but usually there’s a lowest-common-denominator-let’s-please-everyone factor which is dispiriting. Perish art which doesn’t provoke attention, whether aesthetic or conceptual, and whether for positive or negative reasons.
But I was pleasantly surprised this weekend to discover a hotel in Hatfield which blew my expectations of hotel art apart. Beales Hotel describes itself as a modern striking and stunning contemporary hotel. Fortunately it wasn’t overselling itself.
Despite its unprepossessing situation amidst office and commercial developments and dual carriageways, the hotel displayed a wonderful, eclectic and absorbing collection of artwork in a beautiful contemporary architectural setting.
What I found even more interesting was how it came about. Following a chance meeting between hotel management and local students, a successful collaboration has been operating for six years with fine art students from the University of Hertfordshire to the credit and benefit of all. Arts and Business helped out with funding, and it was a good decision. It’s great to see what can be achieved in this type of project, and I was probably most impressed by the fact I didn’t even realise at first it was student work. There was a professionalism of approach and execution which didn’t in the slightest detract from the creative oeuvre.
The hotel has produced a great little informative catalogue/brochure. And it is also a excellent venue for functions; I was staying there for a joyfully large and exuberant family celebration and it was a great weekend all round.
With Art as a bonus.