Each interior of The LINE‘s first three hotels is designed in response to its architecture and surrounding neighborhood. Every one aims to create an overarching atmosphere of curiosity and creativity. Accordingly, the properties are home to various art activations and events that are created to appeal to visitors and locals alike. With the hard work of site-specific creative directors (Aengus Cawley in LA, Jacqueline Gilles in Austin, and Morgan West in DC), these ongoing experiences, installations and collaborations explore artistic expression in the hotel setting and become a valuable part of the area’s greater cultural conversation.
Global Brand Director Sana Keefer explains, “We don’t want it to be museum-like in the sense that it is hands-off. Everything should feel approachable. We truly are inclusive. We don’t say, ‘Let’s see your resume, artist. Let’s see how many shows you’ve had.’ It’s really about: do we have a similar vision? And if so, let’s collaborate. That’s really what my job is: identifying artists, working with partners and figuring out how we can do something mutually beneficial.” With that philosophy in mind, the team keeps conversation flowing freely to open up ideas for new art partnerships—even with former hotel guests.
In LA, The LINE has played host to all kinds of artistic endeavors: tattoo pop-ups, murals by D*Face, and a Sanrio event that included a fully customized Hello Kitty suite. Last year, the Gianni Lee pop-up included a gallery show with the artist on-site to hand-paint Levi’s denim jackets and Nike Cortez sneakers. The current artist in residence is Canadian digital collage artist, Maxwell Burnstein, who has work on view through July.
POKETO founders Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung have also brought their bold, colorful style into several aspects of the LINE LA. In the lobby, their version of a hotel store combines the best of their various shops around the city with items most needed by travelers—from bathing suits to souvenirs. “POKETO is so timeless in what they do and are such an authentic part of the community,” says Keefer. With the LINE LA’s Brutalist architecture and minimalist interior, POKETO’s influence provides playful splashes of color.
Vadakan and Myung also help to co-curate artwork for the lobby. Currently on view is a series of gloriously goopy-looking pastel sculptures by Chiaozza. The pieces in the collection, called Sunday Succulents, take the shape of ice cream bowls and are crafted from painted paper pulp.
In the Adams Morgan neighborhood, The LINE DC is housed in a 110-year-old building that was originally a church. This location recently played host to an event for Pow! Wow! DC. “There were a 1000 people watching two muralists compete in real time on creating pieces,” says Keefer. “Those are the types of things that we like to do in DC because we don’t have a pool area, so we have to use the lobby as that hub for activations.”
In order to celebrate the significant number of women running in the 2018 midterm election cycle, the hotel teamed up with The Lily (the first US newspaper run by women). This collaboration resulted in a permanent mural by women-led Spectrum Murals featuring an eagle with 184 feathers, each of which represented one of the individuals in the race.
Additionally, Jack Inslee (formally of Heritage Radio) hosts his Full Service Radio podcast in the LINE DC lobby, where they have built a radio station. “We’ve seen some of the biggest art activations and installations come out of DC just because the culture is so rich there,” Keefer tells us.
For the LINE Austin, Keefer tapped non-profit Big Medium (an organization that provides exposure and spaces for Austin-based artists) to participate in their new artist-in-residency program. It awards three artists access to a private studio space inside the hotel for six week periods. There, they will be able to work on new projects and host studio visits. Once the residency is over, each artist will have a solo show at the hotel.
The first artist will be Steef Crombach, a mixed media artist from the Netherlands who is now based in Austin. Her recent work delves into the visual language of American patterns, objects, colloquialisms, and concrete cultural manifestations. In September, multidisciplinary artist Adrian Armstrong will embark on his residency. Originally from Omaha, Armstrong also lives in Austin, and his work explores police brutality, mental health, and oppression as well as hopeful themes of growth, love, and success. He co-founded Brown State of Mind an agency for artists and creatives of color. Later this year, in November, Mexican-American filmmaker Chelsea Hernandez begins a residency. Hernandez is a fellow of Firelight Media‘s documentary lab, Tribeca’s TFI/A&E IndieFilms StoryLab, and more. Her fascinating work focuses on the lives of people who challenge injustice.
Overall, The LINE team hopes that art inspires guests to explore and discover. “When people come to each LINE, we encourage them to get out into the city and decide for themselves what they think it is… Those are the experiences that turn out to be memorable,” Keefer says. Through the brand’s belief in letting artists express themselves, visitors broaden their experience with a stay—and even a city.