Success Stories

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21c Museum Hotels (KY) - The Arts Create an Open Dialogue with Hotel Trailblazer
21c Museum Hotels (KY)
Embrace Diversity & Team Building

The Arts Create an Open Dialogue with Hotel Trailblazer

21c Museum Hotels (21c) is more than just a supporter of the arts, but rather a central hub for the arts in each community they serve. With hotels in Bentonville, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Ohio, Durham, North Carolina, Lexington, Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky, Nashville, Tennessee, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the company itself is an arts institution—a multi-venue museum with more than 70,000 square feet of contemporary art exhibition space.


21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who believe in the power of innovative and thought-provoking art to transform communities. Their passion for contemporary art and urban revitalization led them to open 21c Louisville in 2006. Their mission is to share today’s most dynamic contemporary art with new audiences and to support the revitalization of American downtowns.


The company is an exceptional example at the ability to link support of the arts into areas surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion.


At 21c they believe in the transformative power of contemporary art to start conversation and to create change. They feel art installations give the community another way to engage in conversation around important issues. For example, in response to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 legislation, known as the “bathroom bill”, they installed new signage to their single-occupant public restrooms by artist Peregrine Honig. Each sign is a work of art, numbered and signed by the artist, titled “We Don’t Care”. The title refers to the position of ‘all are welcome’ or ‘we don’t care where you go to the bathroom’.


21c feels this installation gives the community another way to engage in conversation around the issue as thought-provoking contemporary art fosters dialogue and discovery.


The exhibitions on view frequently explore issues of socio-economic equity and diversity, creating a permanent, though changing platform in which employees and visitors are encouraged to engage in discussions about the world and the diversity of human experience.


You can check out the following exhibitions:

The Future is Female

Labor and Materials

A Global Gathering


21c’s programming often also addresses issues of equity and diversity. Recently, both 21c Lexington and 21c Louisville have collaborated with the ACLU to host “Art and Activism,” an evening program of discussions about social justice issues inspired by artworks currently on display in 21c exhibitions.


21c Louisville, Cincinnati, Bentonville, and Durham simultaneously screened “Ellis Island,” a film about the history of immigration in the US produced by the artist JR and actor Robert DeNiro. Representatives from local refugee ministries were invited to bring refugee family and facilitate conversations between new and older members of their communities.


At the opening of The Future is Female exhibit, a public discussion about women in the art world led by Alice Gray Stites and PULSE art fair director Helen Toomer became a platform for an audience-led conversation about gender roles, politics, and inclusivity.


This 2017 BCA 10 winner has embraced that the arts can create an environment of conversation and exchange, really showcasing inclusivity, individuality and expression are at the heart of their mission.



Photos: Main Entrance at 21c Lexington. Elevate Reception at 21c Oklahoma City.


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