Today was the Chapter Meeting of the ARLIS/NA Twin Cities (or the local chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America) and it was held at the Chambers Hotel and the Foshay Tower. The Art Director Jennifer Case Phelps manages the art at both sites, which is why we were able to visit both places.
The Chambers Hotel is a Luxury Art Hotel (one of only a few in the USA and one of the best in the World) and is a boutique hotel (only 60 rooms) which has art in all the guest rooms, as well as art in the lobby, lounge, art bar, courtyard, gallery, den area, restrooms, and even in the stairwell! The art is all modern and is amazing. They even have this old cigarette vending machine which has been restored (by www.artomat.org) and when you put in a $5.00 token you can buy a little piece of art! Well this was too fun to pass up, so I put in my $5.00 token (purchased from the front desk) and my little piece of art looks like a book and is by artist Beverly Penfield. All the art has to be the size of a pack of cigarette’s and most is created by local artists. The majority of the art in the hotel belongs to the owner Mr. Burnet, but they also show artists in the gallery (this time its a Chinese artist Wang Yanshu) which is for sale. Art tours are available if you give them a call, they also have a famous restaurant owned by world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Then we were off to the Foshay Tower, which for decades (from 1929-1971) was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Mr. Burnet, who owns the Chambers Hotel, also owns the Foshay and has remodeled it into a hotel (it use to be filled with offices). For years you could not visit the Observation Deck, but now the Observation Deck and Museum are open to the public daily. The Foshay has 32 floors, was modeled after the Washington Monument and had a 3-day grand opening in August 1929. It was built by Wilbur Foshay, who soon after it was opened got into financial trouble. lost his money, was convicted of mail fraud, served just a few years in Leavenworth before he let out by FDR (oh and the Great Depression also happened). Its a beautiful art deco building, which has been restored and reopened in 2008 with 229 guest rooms, restaurant and bar. From the Observation Tower you can see St. Paul, the MIA, the Metrodome, the Mississippi River, the new Twins Baseball Stadium and a host of other items.
Then it was back to work, but I did stop and get a few photos of the Weisman Museum (photos in Flickr account, click on link at right).