City Hostel, in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, features 54 rooms, each designed and decorated by 47 Seattle artists. The hostel also features a 20 seat movie theatre, with frequent art events, screenings and openings. In 2008, City Hostel was voted the top hostel in the United States by Hostelworld.com.
Artists were asked to volunteer their efforts instead of being paid outright, which caused some controversy in the Seattle art community. As some artists pointed out, when artists work on spec or for free, it devalues all artist’s work, making it likely future jobs to any artist will be for free as well. Hostels are however usually operated less for profit than passion. Hopefully in the future artists will be paid for their work. If the capital isn’t there for up front payment, then give them a royalty – 1% of the proceeds from each room stay goes to the artist who designed it.
Even without payment, the artists are largely excited about the project and the exposure it has actually brought after the hostel opened. The artists were uncensored and allowed free reign to the final outcome of each room, and have formed a community from the experience. Several reported commissions and buyers from the exposure even before the hostel opened.
Like other Art accommodations, this one is a unique, creative place to stay, celebrating local artists.
- City Hostel site
- Hostel Art Collective, a blog by the hostel’s artists
- A list of all City Hostel artists
- Hostel Art Collective Flickr Photostream
- Lynn Shirmer’s Blog, thoughts on her experience working on her room
- It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times, The Stranger Slog. Includes comments by many artists who argue the benefits they received from working on the project, even though for free
- City Hostel Seattle – Some Actual Information, from Belltown People
- Hostel in Seattle Voted Best in US from ABC News
posted by Trout Monfalco