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Category: Small Business Spotlight

May 15, 2019

Martha Weidmann and Molly Casey believe art has the power to transform spaces. As co-founders of NINE dot ARTS, the Denver-based art advisory firm, they have curated artwork and designed thoughtful art programs for a number of Cherry Creek North businesses, including hotels, offices and apartments. 

NINE dot ARTS co-founders Martha Weidman and Molly Casey sincerely love Boulder-based artist Joel Swanson's linguistic-focused art. A large-scale vinyl print of Swanson's "Sincerely" is displayed in the second floor of the Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek. The work is a digital recreation of handwriting found on a letter written to the artist. 

From sourcing more than 750 pieces of artwork exclusively from Colorado-based artists for Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek’s signature warm-yet-elegant art collection to collaborating with staff from oil and gas company FourPoint Energy to create original art from science, Weidmann and Casey strive to tell a purposeful story with every project.

"While each project is unique, we can definitely say that our Cherry Creek North clients all share a deep appreciation of what art can bring to their business,” Casey says. “Art is a powerful extension of a company or business brand and can reach people in ways that marketing and other communications cannot."

All this storytelling through art requires quite a bit of outside-the-box thinking, which is just the type of challenge Casey and Weidmann were striving to take on when they joined forces in 2009 after working together at McGrath & Braun, a renowned regional art firm. The duo borrowed their company name from the nine dot problem, a puzzle that challenges participants to draw four straight lines without lifting pen from paper. (In case you hadn’t guessed, it requires working outside the lines to solve.)

Glenwood Springs artist Andrew Roberts-Gray's "Abstraction #90" hangs in Halcyon's lobby area, affectionately called The Living Room.

Some of their favorite acquisitions in Cherry Creek required a level of resourcefulness onlookers may never have imagined. The mounted moose that greets guests coming into the Halcyon had to be imported from Canada and go through customs to get where he is today. 

“He is named Craig after Craigslist, because that's where we found him,” Weidmann says.

Other Cherry Creek North projects continue to run the aesthetic gamut, with hotel clients like the whimsical and millennial-friendly Moxy Denver Cherry Creek and the fashion-inspired Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop, as well as apartments like Coda and the new St. Paul Collection.

“Our first priority with each new project is to create a unique vision, so no two art experiences are ever the same,” Casey says. “Every property has its own story to tell so each one has its own theme and experience.”

Part of telling that story is working closely with clients, including for the aforementioned science-inspired FourPoint Energy wall sculpture, which illustrates geographic processes that took place 300 hundred million years ago. These processes ultimately became the formations that the energy company produces natural gas from today.

Roland Bernier has been creating art with words since the 1960s. His "Talking in Circles" piece welcomes Halcyon guests to ponder its meaning and the narrative it creates.

“We worked with FourPoint Energy’s on-staff geologist Brendan Curran to discuss the process, obtain photos and illustrations, and to better understand it,” Weidmann explains. “Science translated into art!”

Curran, Four Point Energy’s vice president of geology, says the experience was not only a fun project, it also “provides a great centerpiece for discussion when scientists and engineers from other companies visit our office for the first time.”

Now with three hotels and a growing number of residences and offices—in addition to the restaurants and shops Cherry Creek North has always been known for—the district is transforming into an 18-hour destination where people live, work, stay and play. Casey and Weidmann say they can’t overstate the importance of incorporating one-of-a-kind art experiences in mixed-use areas like this one.

“The more people are exposed to original art, the more they will understand and appreciate how it shapes our cultural fabric and transforms spaces,” Casey says. “What I love about art is that it makes a lasting impression, and makes people want to return to experience that feeling again. It makes our city and our neighborhoods more vibrant, interactive, and inspired.”

Casey, center, gives Halcyon guests a tour of the hotel's curated art collection during Cherry Creek North's Art Feast last November. Behind her is "From the Reflection Series" by Collin Parson, who is the exhibition manager and chief curator for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.