Sara Nickleson is the Director of Library Street Collective, a contemporary art gallery focused on showcasing emerging and established artists. Think Tiff Massey, Jason Revok, Greg Fadell, Sheppard Fairey…
It’s a wide net for sure, with firm Detroit roots and playful collaborations that push the bounds of public art.
Example: Rainbow City Roller Rink by the art collective FriendsWithYou, a pop-up roller rink in a downtown high rise, a 17 ft Kaws sculpture in Campus Martius, and Doug Aiken’s Mirage, a house of mirrors in an old bank (best described as architectural ruin, preserved).
And, most recently, the Shinola Hotel. A project less sensational but no less groundbreaking. Definitely more permanent.
The Detroit-based retailer tasked their downtown neighbor looking for art. The result is a collection that simulates the brand in appearance and philosophy: both contemporary and timeless, rooted in Detroit, universal in scope.
The heart of the collection is the living room AKA the hotel’s public lobby. It may be the closest any of us will ever have of experiencing a Gertrude Stein moment in Detroit.
For the project, Sara worked closely with Shinola Creative Director Daniel Caudill as well as the hotel’s architectural team, Gachot.
We sat down with Sara to discuss the backstory, process, and art in general.
CV Henriette: When you were tasked with the mission of curating art for the Shinola hotel, what were your first thoughts?
CVh: Did the hotel have a clear vision of what they were trying to evoke?
CVh: What does the “living room” bring to mind for you?
I’ve spent a lot of time working in the living room since the hotel opened, and it has become such a communal place—people have meetings, work on their laptops with headphones, snack and catch up with friends, have a drink before dinner, and take tons of photos. It’s the heart of the hotel and sets the tone for the mezzanine above, the guest rooms and spaces in between. It’s an inspiring space—warm, energetic, and thoughtful.