In 2013, the Sheraton McKinney Hotel, just north of Dallas, began construction on a $10-million expansion project that would add 51 hotel rooms to the existing property. But along with the additional rooms, this new phase of development also included a new outdoor pool and entertaining area, expanded the hotel’s health club and concierge lounge, and increased the existing 1,500 square feet of event space with an additional 5,000 square feet.
When Farmboy Fine Arts (FBFA) got the call from our friends at Michelle Meredith & Associates with an invitation to contribute artwork to the expansion, we were eager to support their interior design vision that struck a balance between the traditional Sheraton aesthetic with the fresh, contemporary update they wanted for the property. We were eager to get started, too, because this was a project on the fast-track, with less than eight months to turnaround our initial discovery conversations into a fully-realized and installed art collection.
The initial allocation of budget for artwork started small, so FBFA began by bringing in the standard elements of the Sheraton art program—patterns, silhouettes, vignettes and objects—and blended those with more atmospheric images and abstract painterly works. Our aim was to create a regional sensibility that didn’t overtly rely on too many Texas-Western motifs, but still retained its charm.
As the project got going, all the stakeholders involved were beginning to appreciate the importance and value the art program would bring in distinguishing this hotel from others in the area. Amazingly, the ownership was able to expand our artwork budget by about eight times.
This opened up the opportunity for FBFA to come up with innovate ideas for the artwork placements and break outside the box. We worked with local and national archives to source historic photographs, maps and illustrations from the region and use them to create interesting digital collages that were specific to McKinney and unique to this Sheraton property. We were also able to source and acquire some original artworks for the property.
Some of the highlights from the collection include several ethereal oil paintings by Joyce Howell, as well as two found-text collages by the acclaimed Lance Letscher—both of whom have spent parts of their artistic careers living and working in Texas. The reading area, a focal point of the hotel lobby, is also now home to a gorgeous three-panel acrylic, oil and silver leaf painting by Agata Kosmala.