Trumbull & Porter hotel in Corktown goes all in for Detroit art

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

Trumbull & Porter, the Corktown hotel with the ultra-cool vibe, has completed its longterm renovation program with the addition of original artworks by over 50 Detroit and Michigan artists. 

"With all that's happening in Detroit and Corktown," said Nick Knight, hotel general manager, "we wanted to do a shout-out to the artistic integrity of the area."

Some well-known names are represented here, among them autoworker-turned-artist Tony Roko, Detroit muralist Ellen Rutt and Corktown local Mike Burdick

Mike Burdick's "How They Still Burn" inside Trumbull & Porter in Detroit's Corktown.

Though some artists from northern Michigan participated, Knight said 90 percent of them were from the Motor City proper. 

It all boiled down to creative branding. 

"We're affectionately known throughout the market as Detroit's hipster boutique hotel," he said, "so we decided -- why not just lean into it?"

And what better way to polish your hipster credentials than by including a ton of Detroit art?

A small sampling of the handsome, glazed tablets in Elysia Vandenbussche's "Stay," which cover the wall behind the Trumbull & Porter check-in counter.

The works, which sprawl across all media, are spread throughout the lobby, in guest rooms, and on the hotel's exterior walls.

Three striking new murals on the building's exterior by Michelle Tanguay, Ellen Rutt and the artist called Ouizi have gone up in recent weeks. They make for an interesting walk around the parking lot. 

A recently completed mural by Detroit artist Ouizi at Trumbull & Porter hotel.

Yet to come is an outdoor sculpture by Erik and Israel Nordin, who have work all over town -- including "Generations" next to Slows Bar BQ at 14th and Michigan. 

Trumbull & Porter started life as a Holiday Inn 50-odd years ago but became the Corktown Inn as Detroit entered its long skid.

The owner, Access Hotels & Resorts, has properties around the country and acquired the modernist structure four years ago. 

The handsome, low-key renovations inside and out were handled by Detroit's  Patrick Thompson Design.

A new work by Detroit muralist Ellen Rutt is on the north side of Trumbull & Porter in Corktown.

Knight sees the artwork as the "cherry on top" of the aesthetic overhaul just completed. 

"The idea came from our leadership team," he said. "It was just a matter of finding our brand voice. Once we figured that out, we could really hone in on the segment we're aiming at."

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