In 2003 I was planning the demolition of the old Hatfield Lodge Hotel which had been in the family firm since 1964. It was frankly an outdated middling 3 star hotel and in no way reflected the dramatic change in the surroundings, what with the building of the Galleria, the Hatfield Business Park, the University of Hertfordshire, the T-Mobile HQ etc.
I wanted a theme for the stunning new hotel that would rise up from the ashes of the old, and didn’t want to theme the hotel with the past glories of Hatfield and its links to the aircraft industry, but to represent Hatfield in the dynamic present and the future.
A chance meeting with Tricia Bryan and Sue Scott, second year Fine Art students of the University of Hertfordshire, triggered a collaboration that has worked successfully now for six years between the hotel and the artists at the University.
We commissioned a competition among the second and third year students to come up with art suitable for the new hotel. Of the 35 or so who entered we picked the top 20 and commissioned several works from each. One may think of students as all being spotty eighteen year olds, but in fact the majority were in their thirties and forties, with the youngest being 19 and the oldest well into their seventies!
We wanted a sense of place and so much of the art is about the local area.
A successful application to the government sponsored charity Arts and Business saw them funding half of the cost of this wonderful collaboration between the worlds of business and academia, literally between town and gown.
Since the opening of the hotel in 2004 there has been a constant trickle of new works of art into the hotel and we now number over 120 original works by artists, many of whom have gone on to make their name on a wider stage.
I hope you enjoy this little snapshot of the wonderful works on display at the hotel.
Andrew Beale - Managing Director
Beales Hotels - September 2009