As I walked up Fifth Avenue and pass the New York Public Library, I remembered that even with Times Square a stone’s throw away, Andaz 5th Avenue really does offer a hip haven from the bustling Midtown streets. With tbd Art, a rotating artist-in-residence program, the cool factor has increased substantially.
Last year, after it received such a positive response from guests and local artists, it was a no-brainer for the hotel to extend the program, especially since art already plays a big part at Andaz. Inside, its walls are more like a hip art gallery infused with the culture of its surrounding neighborhood than that of a global chain of hotels.
Daniel St. George is the latest artist to unveil work on the doors leading to the bar downstairs. His piece, titled “Up in Arms” and partially painted with 24k gold paint, illustrates his idea of “New York City – Today,” the running theme of tbd Art.
tbd Art provides a unique opportunity for hotel guests to not only watch first hand the creative process, but to actually participate. Previous tbd artist Claw Money encouraged guests to “tag” one of her canvases during the tbd Art launch party. June’s artist, John Hung Ha, incorporated a flag from the country of each passerby into the scales of the Koi fish in his mural, and Mister Cartoon, one of the world’s most sought-after tattoo artists who returns for a second stint in December, allowed Andaz guests to forgo his extensive waiting list to be inked. St. George chronicled his own experiences through the Andaz 5th Avenue Tumblr page and took time to answer questions from guests and art enthusiasts online.
To me, the coolest part of tbd Art is that each artist lives at the hotel for the week that they’re creating their work and guests are encouraged to visit during the entire process. In a city where most people walk with their head down as they race to work or with eyes tilted high to the sky to take in the tall buildings, it’s refreshing to hear about a hotel, especially one in midtown, that’s encouraging people to stop and take a few minutes to learn something new and admire an amazing piece of art that will spark conversations later that day. If you’re in the neighborhood, make a point to walk by the Andaz and check out the art. You might be lucky and catch the next artist while they work.
Read more on New York City:
Photo Essay: An Afternoon at New York City’s High Line Park
Trip Tips: New York City on a Bicycle Made for Hotel Guests
Trip Tips: Letting Your Stomach Lead You Through NYC’s Lower East Side
City Travel Guide: New Year, New York