Portrait of the Artist as an Engaged Citizen

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The hospitality world’s favourite global citizen has done it again.

citizenM’s latest round of disruption is shaking things up in one of its newest neighbourhood’s – the ever-quirky, deeply historic Bowery in Manhattan. In preparation of welcoming guests next month, the citizenM New York Bowery recently played host to an unusual art installation.

Introducing ‘Citizens of the Bowery’. Like any good neighbour, citizenM is eager to insinuate itself into the Bowery’s eclectic circle. But that’s easier said than done in this centuries-old community with its legacy of post-prohibition poverty, borderline bawdy reputation and free-wheeling local citizenry comprising artists, writers and New Age gurus. Suffice it to say, the proverbial different drummer’s beat rings loud and clear in the Bowery. In an attempt to walk that fine line of pleasing the bees in the Bowery hive while staying on point with its brand messaging, citizenM commissioned an unorthodox work of art. A bold – dare we say risky – move in a bohemian neighbourhood like the Bowery. Of course, calculated risks of this sort are par for the course for the Dutch hotelier. citizenM commissioned local photographer Christelle de Castro to capture the fascinating blend of personalities comprising the Bowery. The artist’s canvas: the hotel property, itself. With this art installation created by a local, for locals, citizenM is paying unabashed tribute to its new ‘hood.


Christelle produced 62 larger than life portraits of locals – including a canine or two – and citizenM boldly splashed them across the hotel’s windows. The black-and-white images simultaneously stand out and blend in, aesthetically and architecturally, perfectly expressing the citizenM brand and the Bowery’s diversity.

A double-win for citizenM, this initial installation provides a foundation for future expression, perhaps satiating the piqued curiosity about the stories behind the faces. And in the process of inspiring Bowery cohesiveness and pride, a little positive PR this way comes. Job well done, citizenM!


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