Local Hotel partners with Tyler students for modern art exhibit

The Independent Hotel in Center City is working in collaboration with the Tyler School of Art to display the work of students in the MFA painting program.

Students in the MFA painting program at Tyler have an opportunity to connect with a vibrant part of the city in a way most young artists could only dream of.

The Independent Hotel, located on Locust Street in Center City, has a surprising connection with Tyler, which the hotel staff recently decided to use to facilitate a collaborative project.

Margo Margolis, the head of the painting department for Tyler, was contacted earlier this semester by the hotel. Heads of the staff at the Center City building were interested in displaying student work.

“I was contacted by one of the corporate staff, Mary Golhofer, about doing an exhibition of the MFA student work at the Independent Hotel,” Margolis said. “The hotel and the Hersha group like to have a connection to the community.”

Jay Shah, a graduate of Temple’s Fox School of Business, is the CEO of the Hersha Group. The organization owns 80 hotels, including The Independent Hotel. The Temple graduate brought his connections with the school and hotel together to create this exhibit.

“The idea was to have a rotation of work throughout the year by changing the work semester by semester,” Margolis said.

After the hotel expressed interest, three representatives visited the school to select pieces that would contribute to it’s modern flair.

The exhibit features the works of painting MFA’s Kaitlin McDonough, Jonathan Ryan, Tiffany Livingston and Seneca Weintraut. It opened to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 12 with a wine and cheese reception at the hotel.

The pieces, which include 10 paintings and four drawings, are each on sale to members of the public.

As the work currently on display is sold, the work of other Tyler students will take its place, giving a variety of different styles a chance to be shown.

McDonough, who had a painting displayed in the exhibit, said she is familiar with showing her work. She said it was a unique experience, however, to be able to do so in Philadelphia.

“I moved here this summer so it’s definitely nice to meet people in the local community, as I’ve only been here for a couple of months,” McDonough said. “Sharing this experience with my peers, working with the other artists, Margo and Susan Moore, another painting faculty member – it was great that we could come together for a project.”

Though she has only been here a short time, McDonough says studying at Tyler has allowed her many opportunities she may have not had otherwise.

“There have been so many wonderful events this fall focusing on painting,” McDonough said. “Each has been a great opportunity to connect with the larger community.”

Alexa Bricker can be reached at alexa.bricker@temple.edu.

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