It used to be that sitting around and staring at the wall was an expression for something you did when you had absolutely nothing else to do—when life was dull and boring. But The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery is working to change all that. They're making staring at the wall exciting, fun, and very artsy. As if the beautiful exposed brick walls of the historic old building aren't enough to look at, the walls are also covered with amazing artwork by local artists. The Old No. 77 Hotel is collaborating with Where Y'art, a local organization of art enthusiasts who work to promote local artists while making art approachable and affordable for all. Where Y'art not only offers rotating exhibits at the hotel as well as their gallery on Royal Street, but they also recently selected three local artists to decorate a different suite in the hotel with their art and chosen décor.
Kate Harahan is an artist and art teacher who paints human figures, especially hands, along with birds and other animals. She loves owls, feels that hands tell a lot about a person, and thinks children are a lot more complex than people give them credit for … all of which she portrays in her artwork. The suite she decorated was rustic and ethereal.
Connor McManus has a background in graphic design and architecture, but still paints a lot of landscapes and nature scenes. His suite felt vintage and cozy.
Leroy Miranda, a native New Orleanian, uses a lot of found objects and recycled items in his art. He doesn't like throwing things away and feels that most people are far too wasteful, so he enjoys rescuing everyday objects and putting them to good use in his artwork. His suite had an industrial yet colorful feel.
All of the artwork in the hotel is for sale, and guests staying in these Artist Loft Suites get the chance to "test drive" the artistic pieces for a night or two before deciding if they'd like to buy. This helps promote local artwork while giving visitors to New Orleans a chance to take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir that you definitely won't find in any shop on Bourbon Street. In 2016, Where Y'art sold $30,000 worth of artwork just in the Old 77 Hotel alone. Each time a piece is sold, another work of art is hung in its spot, so the artwork is always fresh and exciting and constantly being updated.
Even if you don't stay for the night, it's worth a trip to the hotel to check out the exhibits of local art in the lobby, or to grab a drink or bite at the famous Chef Nina Compton's restaurant, Compère Lapin.
For more info on the hotel or its artwork, go to www.old77hotel.com or www.whereyart.net.