A Gateway to the Short North
Opulent new Hilton Hotel opts for all-local adornment
By Chris GaittenPublished September 1, 2012
The newest Short North art gallery will be practically Babylonian in scope and style.
It will feature more than 100 local artists, with approximately 225 original pieces.
It will have a full restaurant and bar, as well as a lounge, a gift shop, and a banquet hall.
Oh, and an indoor pool.
And best of all, if the gallery’s offerings wear you out, it has 532 luxurious beds, each with a queen-sized piece of local art framed on the ceiling above your head.
It may sound excessive, even opulent, but it’s not as much of a stretch as you may think. When the Hilton Columbus Downtown opens next to the Convention Center this fall, it will have all of these amenities, including an embarrassment of local art installed throughout.
“The collection runs the gamut, so it really shows all the different types of artwork – the rich and diverse ranges of artwork and artists – that are represented here in Columbus and throughout the city,” said Julia Hansen, director of sales and marketing for the hotel.
The art consultants on the project, brothers Michael and Jim Reese, included established artists, mid-career artists, and CCAD students, with prices ranging from $500 to $40,000. They also included international artists who have immigrated to Columbus, like Somalian Abdi Roble and Sare from Armenia.
“It just represents the diversity of Columbus and Central Ohio,” Hansen explained.
Every artist is connected to Central Ohio in some way, with 99 percent hailing from Columbus, according to Michael. There was also a decided emphasis on including as many original works as possible, from oil paintings to watercolors to mixed media.
All the conference and meeting rooms have original artwork, as do each of the 10 elevator lobbies and 23 of the premier suites. Another 25 deluxe suites have en hommage reproductions of works by George Bellows and Alice Schille. (The originals are hanging in the Columbus Museum of Art.).
The remaining 10 deluxe suites have original collages containing a mix of artists, including Ryan Orewiler and Randy Jones.
The guest rooms have the enlarged artwork above the beds and another piece in the bathrooms. Both are copies, but the corresponding original for each one is hanging somewhere in the hotel.
The art collection will also be tech-friendly and interactive. For example, there will be a QR code next to the work of Milisa Valliere so anyone with a smartphone can hear the music she listened to while she created it. There will be an iPad available for guests to take a tour of the art, as well as a microsite viewers can use to learn more about the artists.
“There’s a lot of that type of interaction and experience or exploring that can happen with this artwork,” explained Michael.
And the food will have a local bent, too, with Michael Mejia of Martini’s serving as the Food and Beverage Director, and Sage’s Bill Glover as the Executive Chef for Gallerie Bar & Bistro, which will source local food for its French-inspired menu.
Visitors will be presented this preview of Columbus food and art, just enough to whet their culinary and cultural appetites. Hansen said they want guests to explore Hilton’s offerings, but they will also encourage them to explore the Short North just outside their doorstep.
“We’re going to allow people who come from out of the state to really get a flavor of Columbus,” she said. “I think we’re sort of a gateway to that experience.”
The Downtown Hilton, located at 401 N High St., is taking reservations beginning October 10th. For more, visit www.hilton.com.