Cultural Initiative Expands within Dual-Purpose Hotel Chicago West Loop

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Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Partners with Hotel Chicago West Loop for New Exhibit Featuring Artwork by Patients with Functional Impairments

Therapeutic Art Shines at Hotel Chicago West Loop!

When I paint, I am no longer disabled, no longer limited. Instead, I am in a parallel universe — a place of ‘time outside of time.'

The Hotel Chicago West Loop has announced a partnership with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) — the global leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions — to showcase more than 30 pieces of art by patients with functional impairments. The special exhibit makes its official debut today at the boutique hotel’s cultural gallery, The Annex, which launched in 2017 to national acclaim. In addition to The Annex being opened to the general public (i.e., not just hotel guests) for daily tours, whenever a guestroom is booked at Hotel Chicago West Loop with the special code “ANNEX,” 10% of the regular room rate gets donated to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Art Therapy programs.

“This collaboration is a perfect match,” said Jean-Luc Laramie, General Manager of the Hotel Chicago West Loop. “Our guests are as diverse as our community, and The Annex is now more reflective of both patrons and our neighborhood. This latest partnership with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab not only gives dimension to our cultural programming, it serves as a platform for inspirational members of our society.”

The Annex | Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Showcase is being exhibited in one of the hotel’s gallery wings, where it will remain on public view until September 2019. The exhibit temporarily joins The Annex’s 100-piece Permanent Collection of 2-D media that occupies all the hotel’s public spaces, and its renowned street Murals by local urban artists that now cover six guestroom walls. Hotel Chicago West Loop delivers a unique, dual-purpose concept; stylish, value-driven accommodations fused with an immersion in the cultural arts.

Art Therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab leverages the creative process to help improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of patients. Individual and group sessions, led by a board-certified art therapist, promote functional independence by facilitating a mind-body connection, reducing stress and anxiety, and encouraging self-expression. All 10 featured artists who are on display at The Annex | Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Showcase have survived a range of catastrophic injuries and complex conditions, from spinal cord and brain injuries to rare mobility disorders and paralysis. (Participating artist bios or high-res photos of their art can be obtained by contacting Jody(at)grimaldipr(dot)com).

After being diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy, Rose Wolfe, one of the Showcase artists, engaged in intensive physical therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. In the process, Rose found a new form of mobility: Mobility in Art. When she is painting, there are no limitations.

“I am free — free to experience the beauty of the world and free to explore my emotions,” said Rose. “When I paint, I am no longer disabled, no longer limited. Instead, I am in a parallel universe — a place of ‘time outside of time.’” Rose uses art as the key to finding a way to express all of the complex emotions that are part of life.

“My suffering is not the object of my life's painting; however, the daily challenges have redefined my reality and provide shape and meaning. Together, art and my disease help to frame my portrait.”

Laura Ferrio, MBA, MSN, RN, who is Chief Advancement Officer and President of the Keystone Board at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, adds: “Art therapy helps inspire our patients during the road to recovery. Through the process, we unearth incredible artistry. It’s a privilege to collaborate with a local partner like Hotel Chicago West Loop, which is committed to sharing the work of emerging artists. The opportunity to display our patients’ creativity is both welcome and powerful.”

The Annex | Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Showcase, as well as The Annex | Murals and The Annex | Permanent Collection, is open to the general public for complimentary daily tours. Media should contact hotel publicist Jody Grimaldi at Jody(at)grimaldipr(dot)com for interview requests, guided tours or images. On a rotating basis, the Annex at Hotel Chicago West Loop plans to continue to collaborate with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and other cultural partners for future exhibitions.

About The Annex: The Annex was launched in fall 2017 at Hotel Chicago West Loop and has evolved significantly since. At the outset, The Annex encompassed the lobby and all four guest halls, and featured photography collected or made by local patron and artist Helmut Horn. These works remain on view (The Annex | Permanent Collection). In early 2018 the hotel decided to expand their commitment to The Annex art program, and launched The Annex | Murals, an ongoing initiative that has yielded to date six unique works by Chicago-based street artists in guestrooms (mural rooms may be reserved by request by referencing The Annex Experience at time of booking) – with plans to add many more. The newest addition, The Annex | Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Showcase, is a strong and meaningful counterpoint to existing programming, and a reflection of the hotel’s support of Chicago’s arts and medical communities.    

Giving Back - The “ANNEX” Rate: To further support the local arts community, Hotel Chicago West Loop is also dedicated to art appreciation as a charitable endeavor. The hotel selects one art charity a year to donate to. When guests book any room at any time at Hotel Chicago West Loop with the special code “ANNEX,” 10% of the regular room rate gets donated to a designated non-profit that promotes artistry in the local community. The hotel worked with the Arts Alliance Illinois in 2017 and is working with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Art Therapy programs in 2019. Overnight rates at Hotel Chicago West Loop start at an affordable $119 nightly.

Hotel Chicago West Loop:
1622 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 243-2900

Managed by:
Portfolio Hotels & Resorts
601 Oakmont Lane, Suite 420
Westmont, IL 60559

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Jody Grimaldi
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