The experts at NINE dot ARTS transform spaces into experiences.
Founded by the visionary duo Martha Weidmann and Molly Casey in 2009, NINE dot ARTS has been redefining the art landscape with their boundless creativity and unwavering commitment. Today they have a presence in Denver, Seattle, and Atlanta, from where they continue to leave their visionary touch on spaces nationwide.
Q: How do you approach the curation process - do you begin by selecting the art pieces or by considering the overall decor of the space?
Stage 1: Vision and Roadmap - We connect the project story, brand, and goals to visual ideas and concepts. We map the budget to a timeline and deliver a detailed art typology and location plan.
Stage 2: Research and Curate - We partner with developers, designers, and architects to dig deep and understand the space. Our curators then research and present recommended artwork and finalize the art collection.
Stage 3: Art Acquisition - Our art acquisition team brings everything together through the skillful negotiation and purchasing of all approved art. We carefully manage the project timeline to stay on schedule and on budget while moving forward to framing and shipping.
Stage 4: Install and Engage - The art experience comes to life through careful coordination with our clients, artists, and installers. Our team provides art labels, collection summaries, and social impact reporting to support education and engagement.
Q: Best behind-the-scenes story?
A: Our best behind-the-scenes stories often revolve around various artwork logistics, such as when installations require several people and days of planning. Though complex, these tend to be the most rewarding installations in that our team gets to really flex their creative muscles and come up with innovative solutions to bring the art experience to life.
One example of this is “Come Out, Come Out Rhino, Wherever You Are,” a 992-lb bronze rhinoceros sculpture we curated for The Catbird Hotel in Denver. Watch the behind-the-scenes installation video here. This massive piece was made by internationally acclaimed artists Gillie and Marc, who are based in Australia, for their environmental conservation project, #LoveTheLast. With pandemic-related shipping delays, it took nearly 6 months for the sculpture to travel by boat from their AU studio to the US. We kept receiving “teaser” photos of its container crate at various shipping ports, prompting us to reschedule the final installation date based on its arrival. And when it finally arrived in Denver, our expert installers navigated snow and sleet to position the rhino just right outside the hotel (watch the behind-the-scenes installation video here). But despite complicated logistics and delays, the reward was worth it!
Massive in size and intricate in detail, the sculpture depicts a rhinoceros peeking out of a city manhole, nodding to humankind’s harmful effects on endangered animals. Unlike the daring and dangerous qualities that are often associated with rhinos, the animal’s demeanor is rather reserved – even shy – amidst the bustling urban environment of Denver’s River North Arts District (yes - a rhino in RiNo). From its textured skin to its striking gaze to its triumphant horn (which people are encouraged to rub for good luck), the rhino’s ornate detail encourages passersby to understand where it came from and how it can be protected. The sculpture has also become a branding tool for the hotel, as people often share social media photos of it with the Catbird sign in the background and the associated #ComeOutRhino and #LoveTheLast tags.
Q: Is there a NINE dot ARTS Trademark style?
A: We do not have a trademark style, as each collection is completely customized to meet our clients’ brand, goals, and vision. If there’s anything that’s “trademarked” about our work, it’s that we do our best to produce captivating, high-impact, and out-of-the-box installations that push the boundaries of typical corporate artwork. And we have a great time doing it! We bring creative ingenuity and FUN to every project and our clients often share that collaborating on their property’s art collection is one of the most enjoyable parts of the project development.
Q: What criteria do you use to evaluate artwork for inclusion in your curated collections?
A: Criteria we use to evaluate artwork include quality, durability, longevity, artist demographics (we aim to curate work from artists who identify as underrepresented and who are local to the project site), and more.
Does it fit with our clients’ brand, goals, and vision for the project? Does it align with the overall project theme and aesthetic while pushing the boundaries of typical corporate artwork? What is the cost of the artwork? Does it fit in the predetermined location and will it enhance the space’s architecture/design? Does it fulfill a functional goal such as supporting navigation and wayfinding, prompting conversation, influencing human behavior, etc.? Is the artist local to the project site? Does their work help honor the history or culture of the site? These are just some of the questions our curators consider when selecting artwork for a collection. Each selection is unique and purposeful, intended to maximize the value of the art collection for both our clients/partners and the many individuals who will experience the space.
Q: Tell us about one of the projects involving ArtStar pieces.
A: For the THEsis Hotel in Miami, Florida, our team curated three ArtStar pieces by Italy-based artist-photographer Carla Sutera Sardo titled AQVA BLUE, AQVA ORANGE, and SOEUR III - each featuring 50s-era women in colorful swimsuits. The prints tie perfectly into the curatorial statement for the collection, which aimed to reflect the timeless authenticity and unique spirit of the surrounding Coral Gables community, a destination for locals and visitors alike. Like the selection criteria for the collection, Carla’s prints are fresh, intriguing, sophisticated, and vibrant - helping to distinguish a one-of-a-kind sense of place.
Carla was born in Agrigento in 1983 and became interested in photography during her university career studying law. She graduated in 2011 and initiated her self-taught photographic journey, attending courses in photographic technique in Palermo. In her first photographic project, "A self-portrait in abandoned places," she focused on her body and her surroundings, working to blend the two worlds together. Carla now works between Sicily and Madrid.