January 6, 2022
Community Spotlight: The Acoma House: A new boutique hotel creating an immersive experience between guest and artist
Located in the historic Golden Triangle neighborhood, located next to Sacred Thistle stands a charming purple two-story historic building known as The Acoma House. The former communal boarding house was purchased by local couple, Christina and Mike Eisenstein who wanted to create a unique staying experience for guests in Denver. Through their relationships with Babe Walls, Alex Pangburn, and Ashley Joon, Christina and Mike were able to connect with local artists to bring the project to fruition, the final product being The Acoma House. I had the wonderful opportunity to email Christina and chat with the artists, to learn more about the project and the inspiration behind each of the artist's rooms where guests can immerse themselves in the work and intentions of some of Denver’s celebrated artists.
Artists featured at The Acoma House include Jason Graves, Romelle, GrowLove, Patrick Maxcy, Scott Santee, Gina Ilczyszn, Sandra Fettingis, AJ Davis, KoKo Bayer, Becca Reitz, Chris Haven, Marissa Napoletano, Olive, Alyssa Mora, Joon, Tracy Weil, Johnny Draco, Moe Gram, Just, Jackie Calvert, Kaitlin Ziesmer, Lindee Zimmer, Danielle DeRoberts, Amanda Wolf, Danielle SeeWalker, Alex Pangburn, and Remington Robinson.
“I was kind of asked if I could do roses. And I really like these English roses. They're called, Carding Mill by David Austin, rose companies. I found that out from the lady who lived at this house and she had roses in front of her house. I thought they were like the most beautiful roses I had ever seen.” - Remington Robinson
What was the inspiration behind the Acoma House?
It was a series of ideas, each one forwarding a vision. My husband Michael initially loved the location and proximity to the Denver Art Museum. He fell in love with Acoma street and its large shade producing trees. While living in Japan, I was always curious and inspired by pictures of the famous Tokyo Love Hotels. I could only imagine the crazy designs they inspired. Local Denver artist Pat Milbery inspired the idea to independently curate each room with an artist.
“I basically wanted to make it feel like it was kind of an older mural style, like a storybook and keeping it really subtle, but the themes are really heavy that I chose to do. I chose to do an hourglass. It has the ocean going down into the desert to show that, you know, we're in a point of climate collapse… And then also that like up here there are birds migrating and people migrating. We’re having a lot of things happening because of these climate issues. And I did all the things in a soft tone, all of these things are really important, and we need to talk about them and not avoid it. And I was like, I'm gonna make it, so it's in people's faces, but it's palatable.” - Lindee Zimmer
“We really got to do whatever we wanted to do. So I took it as a really cool blank kind of canvas to just really paint a room exactly like my happy place. I really wanted to get that kind of sunset pastel, rainbow, like luminous feeling and just have it be really bright and uplifting and happy. I really like playing with transparent figures on top of landscapes, like double saturation where there's transparency and then landscapes going off into a different distance. It's always a nice way to kind of create depth. It's a very kind of summer and spring timey kind of piece, but it definitely represents symbolism of transformation and growth and, you know, letting yourself kind of evolve.”- Amanda Wolf
What was the appeal of this building and location?
The appeal of the building was its historical stature, being one of the first boarding houses in Denver welcoming visitors and travelers from afar. Walking the building itself one could feel the hopes and the dreams of these early pioneers who ultimately helped shape the beginning of Denver. The basement is haunted, but with a friendly ghost :)
“This was a great opportunity to combine my mural style with my fine painting styles. I balance out between some realism, heavy line work fabric and yeah, the inspiration behind this. This was originally a painting that I did a few years ago for a series called Building a House of Light, which represented a reconnecting to source sort of a reparenting and like going back to how we're preconditioned in life, and what that looks like later on in life, and how you work through those things and rebuilding a house of light. I have been wanting to make this into a mural, and then this opportunity came and I said, maybe this is the perfect place for it. So then it's become what it is now. And I called it Love Keeps Us Breathing…It's a very conceptual feeling and I just wanted people to come in here and feel that essence of being in a sense of. I want them to feel the love, maybe whoever comes in here, maybe they're having a hard day or I don't know. I want it to be a reminder that, you know, that perspective can shift.” - Danielle DeRoberts
“They gave us free range to do whatever, so I just wanted to make sure I did the city scene. I wanted to do something colorful, and then I wanted to do a couple of the pyramids that I'm known for, my characters and then they brought in some really colorful furniture. I think it's coming together really nicely.”- Chris Haven
How many rooms are in the hotel?
There are 24 rooms, comprised of a mixture of suites and more standard hotel-sized rooms. Unlike a hotel, the color of appliances matches the kitchen/bathroom tiles, which in turn match the cabinetry millwork and ultimately the mural themselves. I worked in parallel with each artist which ultimately led to the building design being cohesive throughout the entire building.
“It was very fun to plan out and execute. My jumping-off point was birds. I love painting birds. I mean, animals in general. And then also I incorporated things like helmets and kind of like sci-fi stuff in my work mostly because I really like the difference in textures. I kind of planned out the main images and then knew I was gonna do patterning walls to compliment 'em. Projects like this don't come along very often, but what I hope is that it'll inspire people around town or beyond to do more stuff like these kinds of one-offs. I think a lot of hotels, they'll commission stuff, but it's kind of to reproduce hotel art and it would be really cool to see more projects like this that incorporate a lot of artists or just even, really unique ideas.” - Kaitlin Ziesmer
Space and place play a large role in mural artists’ practice. How did you select the artists to contribute and what was your experience watching them conceptualize a mural for a room in this historic building?
I did not have much personal experience with all the artists, only a select few on previous projects. Alex Pangburn and Ashley Joon brought on amazing talent. One thing I did know was that I love working with artists because in many ways with design/construction, I am an artist myself. I also believe that when you give them freedom in their artistic direction, you will witness unbelievable work. I was not disappointed.
“Well, it's just cool to be surrounded by so many talented people in the same building to be continually inspired by them and to see a building grow in a way that it has overnight. It's crazy. It's like an organic thing. And I think it's like a beautiful bittersweet thing to be pressured to do something amazing because so many other people have done their work and created their own little worlds. It's like, oh my God! I have to do something super cool too. And then the other thing is I've never actually done work that people will be surrounded by and live in full time. It is really cool to have that sort of immersion. It is such a cool element. And really you want to create something amazing for them.” Marissa Napoletano
When is the hotel set to open?
Early spring 2022. Follow on Instagram at The Acoma House.