Normally, the site of lava, ice formations and fire would be frowned upon in the lobby of a five star hotel.
Likely, so would the site of a young woman in a paint-splattered apron loitering about the couches amidst the suits.
However, that is just what Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver guests, conference attendees and Yew Restaurant patrons were treated to June 8 to the 13 when Tracy McMenemy, the Artist in Residence, exhibited her Fire and Ice paintings.
Artist in Residence Program makes for an interactive experience
Launched in June 2011, the program was a way to “support local BC artists and create animation in the lobby,” says the initiator Marissa Hillier, Hotel Assistant Manager.
Marissa explained that the art displays enhance hotel stays by:
- Providing an approachable and interactive local ambassador. “We look for a couple of things including a willingness to interact,” Marissa says.
- Offering a taste of Vancouver’s sophisticated arts scene while showcasing signature BC artwork. Past exhibitions have featured everything from sculptures to bikes. Marissa says that the program is open to “really anything that signifies Vancouver or BC culture.”
- Allowing guests to witness the development of a piece of artwork. One of the program stipulations is that artists be present (and painting) over the week and weekend.
Originally, the program was promoted through word of mouth. “We started with friends of employees and up and coming artists,” Marissa says. “Now artists are reaching out to us.”
Boost to local Vancouver artists
Tracy was thrilled to be present at the hotel. “They’ve been great,” she said, holding up glossy printed post cards full of lava, exhibition details and her contact information.
Used to painting solo, Tracy enjoyed interacting with guests. “People from around the world have shared stories about art,” she told me.
The painting that she was working on when I spotted her in the lobby was a ghostly birch tree affair. Between an interview at the Yew, and a phone call on the couches, I overheard Tracy sharing the painting’s story.
The past in the trees
During a road trip, Tracy and her husband came across a ghost town that was being reclaimed by nature. They stopped. Inside of an abandoned hotel, Tracy found a phone book that she “need(ed)” to take with her.
The birch tree painting, titled Drive-by? Tracy used pages of the phone book to make the tree trunks. When I leaned in close I could just make out the fading names and phone.
It gave me chills, though the painting wasn’t part of Fire and Ice. One month later I’m still thinking about it.
Weekly artists in residence
Each week, there’s a new artist at the Four Seasons. If you know an artist itching for an interactive display, be sure to have them contact Marissa at the front desk.
Don’t forget to drop in yourself. Perhaps you’ll get an artistic chill of your own.