The Ninth Biannual Exhibition at Angad Arts Hotel offers artwork for everyone from everyone.

Angad Arts Hotel Opens Its Ninth Biannual Exhibition to Celebrate Five Years in St. Louis

Monday December 4, 2023

By Rachel Huffman

In St. Louis’ Grand Center Arts District, Angad Arts Hotel engages the creative, embraces the eclectic and elicits surprise and delight. Guests can choose their rooms based on color – red, yellow, green or blue – and then get lost in the carefully curated artwork throughout the hotel.

Opened in November 2018, the property sits on the site of the Missouri Theatre, where the Missouri Rockets – a group of women dancers who later moved to New York City and became the Radio City Rockettes – got their start in 1925. Today, the location’s art history continues, as Angad Arts Hotel presents its Ninth Biannual Exhibition to celebrate its fifth birthday.

The Ninth Biannual Exhibition at Angad Arts Hotel offers artwork for everyone from everyone.
Photo by Cassidy Hintz

Extending the length of the 12th floor, the Ninth Biannual Exhibition features 56 new works by 41 artists who live within 200 miles of the hotel.

“Since the beginning, Angad Arts Hotel has aimed to amplify local voices and uplift local creatives,” curator and arts relations manager Vanessa Rudloff, who initiated the biannual exhibition, says. “Rather than pursuing the hot new thing on the other side of the globe, we focus on our own vibrant arts community and what it’s producing.”

For the Ninth Biannual Exhibition, which runs until April 30, exhibiting artists range from Bryan Walsh, co-founder of Paint Louis, to Jared Minnick, owner of 31art gallery, to Mimi Huang, research assistant of Asian art at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

“As a curator, I believe that creating work – any work – makes you an artist,” Rudloff explains. “Mimi Huang has a career in the art world, but she didn’t feel like an artist until she started painting, and she’s only just begun exhibiting.

“The beauty of the biannual exhibition is that artists don’t need to have an extensive collection of work,” she continues. “They don’t need an impressive résumé or a fancy website; they just need one or two pieces that they’re willing to share with the world. It’s about showing people what they’re working on right now, which I find exciting.”

The exhibition also features art students from the St. Louis region. You can’t miss Zoë Finkelstein’s large, neon, abstract piece titled Swimming In The Summer Air, which brightens the entry hall, or Livia Xandersmith’s Failure to Refrain, which centers on hands painted with rainbow striations, in the reception area.

If you want to delve deeper into the exhibition, Rudloff gives a free tour every Wednesday at 11 a.m. “I point out various pieces,” she says, “but I also give a brief history of the building.”

Horse Shaped World is the current quarterly exhibition at Angad Arts Hotel.
Photo by Cassidy Hintz

When artists submit to the biannual, Rudloff gets a sense of who’s active in the community and who has a body of work that can stand on its own in the quarterly exhibition on the first floor.

Like the 12th floor, the first isn’t a traditional gallery space. The walls aren’t white, the angles aren’t straight, and the art isn’t lit like it is in a museum. “The art galleries at Angad Arts Hotel are experiential,” Rudloff says. “You’re meant to live and breathe with the pieces there.”

On view until Feb. 26, Cara Van Leuven’s Horse-Shaped World explores the migration of horses from urban environments to rural ones as well as the shrinking resources to maintain them.

Despite a lifelong obsession with horses, Van Leuven took an extended hiatus from them due to a blossoming photography and graphic design career. Eventually, she unearthed her equestrian passion and combined it with her hard-earned visual arts prowess.

The result? Controlled chaos in colors that jump off the canvas.

“With every exhibition, including Horse-Shaped World, we encourage audiences to see the world in a different way,” Rudloff emphasizes. “Art can change our perspectives, awaken new ideas and bring us closer together. It’s a unifier. By celebrating local artists and giving them new opportunities to exhibit their work – and then sharing that work with the public – we hope to strengthen our community year after year.”

In the library at Angad Arts Hotel, you can live and breathe art.
Photo by Cassidy Hintz

Over five years, Angad Arts Hotel has showcased more than 500 artists, which has greatly impacted the arts scene in St. Louis.

“From an artist’s perspective, it’s incredible to have a place where we can submit work two times a year,” Rudloff says. “Galleries build their programs out in advance, and they’re generally looking for art that fits their demographic. At the hotel, we’re not searching for a certain style or a certain look because we want to have art for everyone from everyone.”

No matter who walks into the building, we can almost guarantee that at least one artwork will speak to them.

A 360-degree lamp display provides a stunning centerpiece for the lobby of Angad Arts Hotel.
Photo courtesy of Angad Arts Hotel

Outside of Angad Arts Hotel, Grand Center Arts District is chock-full of sensory delights. Diverse venues line the streets, offering everything from Broadway to black box theater, Beethoven to bebop and classical ballet to circus acts. You can experience art in a gallery or on the street and explore museums that will leave an impression.

Throughout the year, don’t miss arts-and-culture events such as St. Lou Fringe, a six-day festival that offers an explosion of artistic expression, and Music at the Intersection, a two-day festival that tells the story of St. Louis’ musical heritage. Insider tip: If you stay at Angad Arts Hotel, you’ll be in the middle of the action!