Art is Appreciated at Tolarno Hotel Melbourne
Tolarno Hotel Melbourne is housed in St Kilda's infamous Tolarno building. The hallway and room walls are highlighted by original local artwork reminiscent of the days when it was owned renowned artist, Mirka Mora and her husband George, who lived and operated The Tolarno Gallery from this building.
Set in the heart of St Kilda's cafe, bar and club precinct, the hotel is a short stroll to the beach, Acland Street galleries and the Sunday Esplanade Market. Right outside the hotel are trams offering direct access to Melbourne's CBD, the Casino, Southbank, National Gallery and Royal Botanic Gardens.
Over the years, the hotel has firmly cemented itself as a cultural institution and played host to some of Australia's most-loved artists, including works from the likes of Sidney Nolan and Howard Arkley.
Today it lies at the heart of bringing Melbourne's most exciting, up-and-coming artistic talents to the world. Namely students from VCA, RMIT and Monash, as well as a number of local artists.
The premise is simple: each room is specifically designed around select works from a particular artist and the winners of each annual prize are exhibited in the hotel foyer. The upshot is that guests are afforded a unique opportunity to purchase works from the artists directly.
At the heart of Tolarno Hotel's present-day incarnation are co-owners James Fagan and Bernard Corser. Their friendship dates back to the early-Nineties and is one that shares the love of art.
After purchasing the hotel in 1996, James and Bernard sought to retain the essence of the hotel's flamboyant, idiosyncratic personality. From the outset, they wanted to retain the building's heritage and eclectic ambiance while creating something truly unique. The pair established the Tolarno Hotel's first annual art prize with RMIT in 2002. The success, of which, led them to set up a similar prize with VCA the following year. Monash University then followed suit in 2005. The upshot being that many students exhibited in the hotel have gone on to gain considerable kudos in the art world.
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