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See How This Hotel Owner Is Starting A Global Art Swap From Lockdown – Forbes

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Mother-daughter team Vicky Bly and Sydney Sue own and operate The Wayback Cafe and Cottages in Austin, Texas.

Guests can stay in one of eight cottages each with their own unique style and artwork, some of which is made by Sue herself.

However, as hotels remain empty during the COVID-19 shutdown, the owners have embarked upon a fun and creative exchange. Their art swap aims to bring a little beauty and variety back to The Wayback Cafe and Cottages and to other hotels across the world.

We spoke with Sydney Sue to find out more.

Can you tell us a bit about your background in art and in the hotel business?

Sydney Sue: Art has always been something I have been interested in, but I never had the opportunity to study at an official level.

I did have art lessons with a professor at The University of Texas who lived in my neighborhood back in 2018. She would come over often over a period of three months. I would set out a table and chairs and we would paint together. We would walk my street and she would teach me about perspective, colors, and shadow.

I continued to paint and use what I learned from her in those three months and it’s something I remain very passionate about still today. I always wanted to set up lessons with her again, but with opening up The Wayback, I am often too busy.

I grew up in the hospitality business with my parents. My mom ran one of the first boutique hotels in Austin, Texas called The Bremond House on the historic Bremond Block. It was one of the only hotels in Downtown Austin at the time. There were no skyscrapers in sight, so you could see straight to Lady Bird Lake.

Every year we would host a Fourth of July party on the lawn while neighbors from all over would set up their lawn chairs to watch the fireworks! I remember how much fun everyone had. I loved that it brought so many people together, and I think that’s what really piqued my interest in the hospitality business. 

What do you enjoy painting?

Sydney Sue: I love painting folk art because it doesn’t have to be perfect or in perspective. It’s based on how you see something. It gives me some flexibility if things are a little out of proportion!

I also love painting scenery, mostly of the Texas Hill Country or West Texas, which are two places very close to my heart.

The coolest feeling is getting done with a painting and finding a way to tie it into a bedroom or living room; I think art really makes a room.

I am constantly rearranging my house and redesigning it with fabrics and different vintage pieces I’ve found. I can always move my art around to enjoy it in different places, and put it away when I get tired of it. My art box has a ton of random pieces that I pull out every so often just to mix things up.

Has art been helpful or therapeutic at this time?

Sydney Sue: I am always inclined to try to get through a painting fast (which in oil painting is impossible), so it has taught me to slow down and be more patient.

It has also taught me to focus on the details and figure out what makes something feel really good. Getting back into art has ultimately been therapeutic because it has given me time to think of something other than our hotel being empty for the time being! 

How did you come up with the art swap idea?

Sydney Sue: I really enjoyed looking at Dylan’s (Halcyon House) art on Instagram. I saw that he worked for a hotel in Australia that I love!

He paints some of their rooms, landscapes and furniture. Instead of simply purchasing an art piece, I wanted to be able to look at his piece and tell a story, so I sent him a quick note on Instagram and the rest was history! 

How does it work?

Sydney Sue: Dylan was the first artist I reached out to. I sent him an Instagram message that said “Would you be open to an art swap? I run a hotel and I’m normally so busy, but now with all this free time, I am getting back into painting. I am almost done with a painting, and I could wrap it up and send it to Australia. You could paint one, wrap it up, and send it to Texas. Just a fun thought and something to look forward to during this quarantine. Let me know your thoughts!” 

With no hesitation, Dylan agreed! I told him there were no boundaries on the project, he could paint anything he wanted to! 

We set a deadline, made plans to visit one day, and started painting!

Who is involved?

Sydney Sue: It started with just Dylan and myself, but quickly other hotels were interested and wanted to join in! Beyond that, I had mostly been sending little pieces to my friends, and telling others about it to hopefully inspire them to do the same.

Some of the other hotel owners we’ve connected with are the founders of Hotel Agua Claras, another hotel founded by a mother-daughter duo, and Cayuga Collection properties and Bluefields Bay Villas in Jamaica. 

Can you describe the artwork being shared?

Sydney Sue: Since I have a ton of time to think right now, I’ve been dreaming up my next project. My dream would be to buy an old 1940’s motor court and do a full remodel into another boutique hotel. It’s something I have always wanted to do. It’s slightly different from The Wayback, since we designed and built it from the ground up. I wanted to incorporate that feel into this painting. 

I found my old paintings from my lessons with the art professor, and pulled inspiration from Vintage Ralph Lauren fabrics. I was also inspired by a painting I found on Etsy that someone outbid me for. Since I wasn’t able to buy it, I wanted to recreate something similar. 

I painted a young businessman in his 30’s traveling through the mountains on his way to…somewhere. It has a 1940’s feel just from a man traveling in a suit on a train, and the vintage striped window covering.  He is eating his eggs over easy and drinking his coffee with extra cream. He is looking out the window and planning his next move. He seems calm, collected, sophisticated, but it causes you to wonder what he is thinking about.

What has been the response?

Sydney Sue: “Rock on!” “Thumbs up!” “Let’s do this!” “Thanks for reaching out!”

“How can we get involved?!”

For me, it’s not necessarily about receiving a beautiful piece of art – it’s about the new friendships and connections, the anticipation, the excitement, and most importantly, the story it will tell. Knowing that it is going to someone I have never met in-person makes me want to make it perfect. It’s like a new spin on the idea of pen pals!

These art swaps will remind us all about the “me time” we gave ourselves during COVID-19, and the time we connected and banded together when we didn’t know what would happen to us next. It’s a way to stop stressing about work and constantly trying to figure it all out.

Painting gives me peace, and I am excited to pass that on to other hospitality workers during these uncertain times.

What are your hopes for the cottages in the future?

Sydney Sue: I hope that I have more time to re-decorate and paint more pieces for the cottages. I want each one to take on its own personality.

I have no plans on shutting down. My plan is to grow and create more opportunities for others to enjoy the beauty of the Texas Hill Country here at The Wayback.

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Levi Nelson art on display in downtown Pemberton – Pique Newsmagazine

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Hydro boxes in Pemberton just got a lot more exciting.

Pieces by Levi Nelson, a Lil’wat Nation artist in his last year at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, are now installed on hydro boxes along Portage Road and on the utility box at the Downtown Community Barn.

“We are incredibly grateful and honoured that Levi shared his artwork with us,” the Village of Pemberton said on a Facebook post on Friday, June 5.

Nelson’s work has been exhibited at the Talking Stick Festival, the Museum of Anthropology, North Vancouver City Art Scape, and the Emily Carr University of Art & Design Aboriginal Student Art Show. He also recently became the first Lil’wat Nation artist to have a piece in the Audain Art Museum’s permanent collection.

The recent hydro box wraps were made possible thanks to a contribution from BC Hydro’s beautification fund.

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Applications being accepted for public art funding – paNOW

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Macleod Campbell explained they are also happy to support public art projects as they help to improve the overall quality of life for people in the city.

“It’s nice to have public art for viewing at this time as well as of course supporting the artist,” she said.

Eligible groups can include a range of organizations from local art groups to private businesses. In order to be eligible, the group has to be working with a professional artist and the piece must be displayed publicly.

There is not a hard deadline for people to apply for funding. Macleod Campbell said applications are subject to approval from the art working committee and city council.

Macleod Campbell explained the city is also working to make people aware of the art which is on display in public spaces around the city, as they have created a public art tour brochure. The document is currently available on the city website and they are looking to get physical copies out into the public.

“That’ll be something as well,” said Macleod Campbell.

MichaelJoel.Hansen@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @mjhskcdn

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Edmonton teen shares love of art with neighbourhood – Global News

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Paige Reid is brightening up her Edmonton neighbourhood, one driveway at a time.

The 15-year-old budding artist said chalk art was an easy way to spend less time cooped up in the house.

“It was a way to be outside and still do something I would have done inside anyway. I just wanted to have fun with a new kind of medium,” said Paige.


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Before long, her work captured the attention of most of her neighbours in Riverbend.

“I’ve had a lot of kids run up to me and say, ‘Whoa, whoa whoa!’ They’ve been very amazed that I’ve done characters that they recognize.”

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Paige soon began to venture out from beyond her own driveway.

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“Paige offered to draw a cat on our porch,” said neighbour Shauna Scott. “Every single time someone comes to our door people stop and say, ‘Wow, who did this?’ It gives us a big kick when we open the door.”


Paige Reid working on her chalk art on June 4, 2020.


Jessica Robb/Global News

The young artist said she doesn’t charge for her drawings, but if someone offers compensation—she’ll use it to buy more chalk.

“People say you can’t put a price on happiness so I don’t want to do that. It’s fun for me. I don’t need a reward for doing something I already want to do,” she said.

Paige’s mom, Cori Reid, said it’s no surprise her daughter spends her day bringing joy to others.

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“She’s got a good heart. She’s very kind,” said Reid. “She thinks about other people all the time.”

This neighbourhood Picasso is also helping fill time during long summer days.

“[Because of COVID-19] there’s not a lot for kids to do right now, except for being stuck on the computer and be stuck with school on Zoom, dance class on Zoom. It’s nice to get out and feel productive,” said Reid.

While at the same time, bringing a neighbours a smile, one character at a time.

“I’m very happy I’ve achieved my goal of making other people happy.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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