Through her company The Art Makery, art consultant and curator Jude Smith decks the halls of high-end homes, country clubs, corporate headquarters and haute hotels with handpicked works of handcrafted art.

AC Hotel Tempe

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Arts Issue: October 2016
Group Free
Pin It


Through her company The Art Makery (theartmakery.com), art consultant and collection curator Jude Smith decks the halls of high-end homes, country clubs, corporate headquarters and haute hotels with handpicked works of handcrafted art. For the new AC Hotel Tempe, Smith assembled 172 pieces (13 in the lobby, 159 in the rooms) by mostly local artists – all women – into a naturalistic aesthetic that pays homage to the hotel’s location between desert mountains and Tempe Town Lake.

Orcas Island, Washington-based artist Susan Singleton created this large-scale piece in the lobby with handmade paper, stenciling, and silver and bronze leaf. The painted paper has warped slightly, adding to the work’s wavy effect. “It’s so organic,” Smith says. “It’s perfect with being imperfect.”

Valley ceramicist Patricia Sannit sculpted these three totems, which each stand 73 inches tall. The  blocks are meant to evoke millstones – a nod to nearby Hayden Flour Mills and its history. “People think the desert is just desert, but we have so much culture here,” Smith says.

Approximately 1,500 pieces of clay were fired, painted and glazed to look like river rocks before being individually mounted to a customized wall panel in the hotel cafe. Loren Yagoda led the collaborative project, with assistance from Holly Anderson and Jessica Speer. “This depicts Tempe Town Lake,” Smith says, “and the feeling as if you’re looking down in the water and seeing light glistening off the rocks.”

On every floor, the elevators’ doors open facing one of these “Faces” paintings by Kathleen Hope. This painting is on the fifth floor, and is cement on wood.
– Niki D’Andrea