Lodging for art and artful lodging, the Wherehouse Art Hotel is a former artist collective and current unique boutique hotel and gallery space. The Wherehouse regularly holds events for artists and organizations in Winston-Salem, and on Wednesday, February 13th, it hosted an Art Party unveiling the works of local artists Sean McNamara, Laura Lashley and Jose Figueiredo.
The WAH exists as an unusual operation as both hotel and gallery. It contains three individual rooms and one apartment all available for reservation through Airbnb. Each of these spaces works as a gallery – anything with a tag on it is up for sale!
Of these spaces, one room in particular is designed to hold temporary exhibits. This “Gallery Room” is where Sean McNamara’s new show was hung for the Art Party and where it will stay for the following few months until the next artist installs their work.
McNamara’s show’s abstract expressionist/pop-art fusion prints and canvases colored the floor-to-ceiling white of the Gallery Room with bright reds, muted blues and vivid yellows. The show signalled a turn from McNamara’s usual work of exact, recognizable prints to grittier, more emotional works that evoke the styles of abstract expressionist masters like Robert Motherwell.
On the other side of the Wherehouse, in the under-construction fourth room, Laura Lashley’s and Jose Figueiredo’s works told a different story from McNamara’s ardent lines. Lashley is known around Winston-Salem for her sprawling, psychedelic floral murals. Just outside the WAH, in Bailey Park, you can find another Laura Lashley original!
The in-progress fourth room, slated for a grand opening in March as the Blue Room, is where Lashley was able to occupy an entire wall with her hallucinatory blue flowers. Catty-corner to the mural is the room’s bathroom, which when open floods the space with shocking peaches and reds that contrast electrifyingly with the blues of Lashley’s wall.
This vibrant, warm-toned graffitied bathroom was done by Portuguese artist and graphic designer Jose Figueiredo, who just recently moved to Winston-Salem and used the graffiti tags on passing freight trains as inspiration for the bathroom walls. This tiny room is an experiment of moving the urban outdoors inside.
These works by Figueiredo, Lashley and McNamara are all invigorating in their own unique, varied ways, and must be experienced in person. Though the Art Party has passed, the Wherehouse Art Hotel is always open to visitors looking to immerse themselves in another side of the Winston-Salem art scene.
The WAH is located in the heart of Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter, right above the hustle and bustle of Krankie’s Coffee. Grab a famous Krankie’s chicken biscuit and coffee and head upstairs to see the wonderful works of Sean McNamara, Laura Lashley and Jose Figueiredo, and then stick around and see what else the WAH has to offer!