Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright Iowa Hotel Reopens


 Wow! I kept saying as I walked thru Frank LLoyd Wright's Hotel. I finally got to see the newly renovated Historic Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa. Every space from the Lobby to the Ladies Parlor is exciting to see brought back to life from near hopeless physical decline. The 1910 structure took $20 million to renovate and is the last remaining Wright designed and built hotel in the world.

Bank Building now Conference area
As much as possible of the original materials were retained including the tile floor, some hotel room doors, stair railings, art glass windows and panels. Other pieces were reconstructed to bring back the original look and feel of the hotel.  The 27 hotel rooms had to be enlarged from the original forty three 10x10' rooms with shared bathrooms Wright designed.

I took particular note of the art work they chose to hang which was by contemporary Arts & Crafts Press artists, the fabric, rugs and furniture. The color palette was warm earth tones throughout the public areas.  The former bank is a conference room with chairs set up for large gatherings.  The usual Wright staging of making you walk thru narrow, short hallways into a large bright airy space takes your breath away.

The lounge area with its skylight is another Wow moment.  It has 25 original art glass panels designed by Wright.  The receptionist Carla told us how some were discovered in the renovation hidden between the ceiling and roof and more were discovered in a house in town and donated back to the hotel.

I took dozens more photos of other rooms not shown here.  They didn't show any of the guest rooms to view but show one on the hotel's website.  Looks wonderful.

Grand Opening poster September 2011
The restaurant is not yet open but I hope to make a trip back to visit when it is.  If you go there, be sure to also visit the Stockman house Wright designed, too.

Click here for more information on the Historic Park Inn Hotel.
Exterior detail


Conference area

Sample of prints, lamps furniture and pottery

Ladies Lounge with balcony overlooking a park.

Rug detail

Lounge view from balconyhttp://wrightonthepark.org/

 View of Lobby looking towards front windows

Restaurant to open in Spring

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Comforting Art at Christmas

Christmas is a time to gather with family and share good times.  It can also be a time of sadness as we celebrate without a loved one.  I lost my mother-in-law, a dear college friend and a cousin this past year and feel that emptiness.  I've also witnessed first hand how people look to fill that emptiness with art that has special meaning for that missing loved one.

I illustrated Mt. Olivet Church a couple years ago and put the sermon as 'Peace on Earth' Pastor Youngdahl on the sign marker out front.  Pastor Youngdahl, the second generation leader to my church, passed away this summer.  His presence will be greatly missed especially this Christmas to his congregation.  His family member called and asked for some prints this week to give as gifts.  It's a piece of art I'm glad I had to offer.

Another piece of art brought special meaning to a woman at one of my recent art events.  She purchased my Bleeding Heart print because she had two siblings but recently lost one.  Seeing the three hearts together symbolized that sibling union for her.  She's giving it to her Mom for Christmas.   I was touched that my art brought special meaning to her and her family.

My Mother-in-law loved birds and cardinals specifically.  Although I drew that card because we have a cardinal pair in our yard, that illustration has since reminded me of her. She decorated her tree with little birds and always fed the birds in the winter. We will miss her this Christmas. Special thoughts go out to all who are missing a loved one this Christmas.