2012-06-23 / News

Art of Hospitality Exhibit Recounts Grand’s 125 Years

By James Dau


China and old menus from Grand Hotel’s past adorn this display at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum’s Art of Hospitality exhibit, commemorating Grand Hotel’s 125th anniversary. China and old menus from Grand Hotel’s past adorn this display at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum’s Art of Hospitality exhibit, commemorating Grand Hotel’s 125th anniversary. Grand Hotel has been a landmark of Mackinac Island since it first opened in the summer of 1887, an enduring symbol of the history, majesty, and elegance, which the entire island community has striven to embody in all the years since. Over the past 125 years, the hotel has retained its grandeur, even as it expanded and adapted to a technological age. A special exhibit at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum this summer follows the evolution of Grand Hotel, illuminated by works of art and artifacts from the past.

The exhibit, The Art of Hospitality, will run through the 2012.

“We combined historical and artistic elements in order to show the full scope of Grand Hotel’s history and its effect on Island life,” said Kelsey Schnell of Mackinac State Historic Parks, which operates the museum. “By marrying historical artifacts with art inspired by Grand Hotel, it gives visitors this great emotional connection to the place.”

Finely decorated china and furniture from various periods of the hotel’s history rest in cases alongside framed antique menus and event programs. The historical elements are accompanied by a series of interpretive displays that tell the story of the hotel from its founding until the present day.

“We want to show people the story of the hotel through its changes in management, in design, and even in name,” Mr. Schnell said.

The hotel has never closed for a single season since it opened, enduring the hardships of a depression, two world wars and several smaller ones through careful management and a dedicated body of patrons.

“One hundred and twentyfive years is a long time for anybody, but especially for an institution to remain as prominent and prestigious as Grand Hotel,” he said.

Contemporary paintings, photographs, beadwork and sculptures, illustrating the hotel and its picturesque surroundings, flank these historical pieces, capturing the experience and impressions of the time.

The contemporary art is comprised of 15 original works, the finalists in a museum-sponsored art contest entitled Mackinac’s Grand Hotel Art Exhibition. These works were selected by an independent panel of art professionals: Vince Carducci of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Valerie Mercer, curator at the Detroit Institute of Art, and Marlee Brown, a professional artist and wife of Grand Hotel President Dan Musser III. An awards ceremony for the exhibition finalists will take place Wednesday, June 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the museum.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2012-06-23 digital edition