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Forget the peppermint on the pillow – how about a dose of art appreciation with your hotel stay?
Wellington businessman Chris Parkin has gradually filled the Museum Hotel with his own contemporary art collection ever since the hotel was moved to make way for Te Papa in 1993.
With about 70 works now dotted around the building, Mr Parkin has created an art guidebook for the hotel, giving guests the chance to take their own self-guided tour of the artworks.
He told NBR the collection built up over the past 16 years had created a unique brand for the hotel which had attracted more guests.
“There is nothing like this in New Zealand and we’ve just had the best year we’ve ever had. It’s hard to know thw full impact of the delibrate branding strategy, but when people say the art is one of the main reasons for coming here, it must be having some kind of effect.”
The works of art are primariuly paintings, are all contemporary and mainly created by New Zealand artists.
Mr Parkin said he decided to do something to identify the artwork earlier this year after fielding constant questions about it from guests, but did not want to just do a cheap brochure.
He commissioned full-time local artist Lynne Sandri – whose work features in the hotel – to compose the flipbook guide, which includes an hour-long walking tour around the artwork displayed on the ground floor of the hotel and in the hotel’s French restaurant Hippopotamus on the third level.
Mr Parkin is no stranger to the local art and culture scene, having recently been appointed to the board of Te Papa, while also serving as chairman of the St James Theatre Trust and an inaugural trustee of the Affordable Arts Trust.
He said the guide book not only gave guests the chance to beef up their contemporary art knowledge, but also avoided the need for labels all over the building.
”I don’t like labels, because people tend to go straight to that and look at who did it, and they end up judging art by the artist’s name rather than the art itself. This way, they get a brief description of each piece of art work that would be understood and appreciated by everyone.”