Known for its extraordinary architecture and elegance, the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee is much more than a place to rest your weary head. Since April 2009, the Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program has put the hotel on the map as a hospitality hotspot for those with a palate for the “palette.”
The Artist–in-Residence program transforms the hotel lobby and common spaces into a working art studio and gallery, open to hotel guests and visitors. The business center on the ground level has been renovated to accommodate both a workroom for artists as well as a space where art can be displayed. The community is encouraged to visit the hotel to witness the evolution of each piece first hand.
The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program is a member of the international Alliance of Artists Communities, an organization with more than 250 members that serves a diverse field of artist communities and residencies, supporting living artists in the creation of new work. Currently, the Pfister hosts artist Stephanie Barenz, a painter and architecture enthusiast from Milwaukee. Barenz was one of six finalists included in a 4-week public voting period. She was ultimately chosen by a selection committee consisting of leaders in the local art community as the fifth artist in the Pfister program. Her work focuses on travel and how journeys can transform perceptions of home, or other places visited.
“Each year, we are repeatedly impressed by the quality of artists who apply to our program,” said Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “We’re thrilled to be attracting such amazingly talented artists like Stephanie. Her proposal to bring a unique perspective by incorporating the memories and habits of the traveling public into her visual expressions will be an outstanding addition to the work of previous Pfister artists.”
“The Pfister is the perfect stage for my work, which deals with how travel affects one’s relationship to place,” comments Barenz. “The hotel carries thousands of stories from over a hundred years…Over the course of the year, I plan to create a body of work that will include 20 to 30 paintings. Images of these paintings will be turned into a book and I plan to collaborate with the Pfister Narrator, the hotel’s writer-in-residence. I am so looking forward to moving into the studio, starting my project, and getting to know more of the Milwaukee community through my platform at The Pfister.”
Building upon Charles Pfister’s vision of the “Grand Hotel of the West,” the Pfister hosts an expansive collection of Victorian art. In tandem with the contemporary works from the artist-in-residence, the artistic ambiance has made the Pfister Hotel a first-choice destination for memorable events such as galas and weddings.
“For decades, The Pfister has hosted the much acclaimed Victorian Art Collection, the largest of its kind in any hotel in the world,” comments Kurth. “We want to expand on our reputation as a destination hotel for art connoisseurs by offering our guests and the public a glimpse into the world of art as it is being created—in real time, by amazingly talented artists.”
For more information on the artistic initiatives at the Pfister Hotel, visit www.thepfisterhotel.com.
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