21c Museum Hotels redefine the art of Southern hospitality and soon Bentonville, AR will be home to one of these boutique hotels that combine contemporary art, guest rooms, and the region's culinary traditions into a unique destination experience.
21c Museum Hotels originated in Louisville, KY in 2006. According to the website, the hotel is "Much more than just a place to spend the night, 21c is an innovative union of genuine Southern hospitality, thoughtful design, and culinary creativity — all anchored by world-class contemporary art by today’s emerging and internationally acclaimed artists (hence the name, paying homage to the 21st century)."
The boutique hotels are the brainchild of philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson whose hometown is Louisville. They "sought to reverse the trend toward suburban sprawl by making a considerable contribution toward revitalization efforts in their hometown."
Soon other like-minded folks in other communities came knocking on their door hoping to "bring the 21c experience to their hometowns." Brown and Wilson's "brand was born' and now 21c Museum Hotels are under construction in Cincinnati, Ohio and Bentonville, Arkansas.
About four year ago, a sign was placed on the property of an ARVEST Bank drive-thru location in Bentonville. It announced that a 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville would be constructed on the site, which, at that time, included the bank and a large parking lot for employees, employees of neighboring county offices, and residents visiting the downtown area.
Construction of 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville. Bentonville, AR 2/29/12
According to 21c Museum Hotels' website, "With an active street presence, 104 rooms and more than 12000 square feet of exhibition, meeting and event space, 21c Bentonville will present curated, rotating exhibitions, dynamic installations and live art events." It also noted that the hotel is expected to open in "early 2013."
Given the quick rate of construction and the interesting, unique artistic offerings slated for the hotel, Digital Journal contacted Stephanie Greene, Public Relations Manager for 21c Museum Hotels, to ask a few questions about the hotel that is currently taking shape on the 100,000 square foot property.
21c Museum Hotel Bentonville under construction. Bentonville, AR May 2012
Green was asked when construction officially began, if there have been any construction challenges, and if she could be a little more specific about the opening date. Greene replied, "Construction on 21c Museum Hotel, which started December 6, is going great and we are on track to open in the first quarter of 2013."
It would appear, then, that sometime between January and March 2013, the skyline of Bentonville will change significantly from what is seen below to the artists rendering of 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville. In the Press Kit that Greene sent along with her comments, it reads, "21c will create a new space for visitors and residents of Bentonville to experience genuine hospitality, view cutting edge contemporary art, and enjoy food that celebrates the region's sustainable producers and culinary traditions."
21c Museum Hotel under construction. Bentonville, AR May 2012
Greene was also asked to share any specifics about the types of installations and/or live art events that are planned for the opening. "We are still working on the details of our opening art exhibitions and of the site specific art that will be featured," Greene stated.
The Press Kit indicates that 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville guests can expect the following: The museum exhibits the work of living artists and is open free of charge to the public. An outdoor sculpture garden will complement the interior museum galleries. These spaces serve as a key link in the emerging arts promenade that connects downtown Bentonville to the brand new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
And, in 21c Museum Hotel tradition, revitalization of the downtown is another major goal along with the hotel creating an estimated 160 jobs.