Hotel displays pieces from AbilityLab patient artists

By Elisa Shoenberger

Hotel Chicago West Loop and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab have teamed up for an art show.

In February, Hotel Chicago West Loop, 1622 W Jackson Blvd., opened an exhibit in the Annex showcasing the work of 10 patient artists from the AbilityLab’s art therapy program. More than thirty works of art are on display on the third floor of the Hotel and are available for purchase.

Jean-Luc Laramie, General Manager at Hotel Chicago West Loop, said the Hotel has been committed to supporting the art community in the city. 

“Chicago art is something we can’t have on a back burner any more,” he said 

The Hotel developed an arts initiative called the Annex which began with the private collection of Helmut Horn. The initiative moved on to  work with muralists to develop murals inside guestrooms. This partnership with the AbilityLab is the third iteration of this project.

The hotel  showcases the work AbilityLab’s art therapy program has been doing. 

“Our patient population is dealing with brain and spinal injuries, stroke patients with disabilities that they never had before,” said Molly Rinehart, Manager, Keystone and Associate Board at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. “Coping with that new disability is difficult. Our art therapy program [works with people on] hand grip and motion, it is used to facilitate mind body connection.” 

Rinehart said art therapy helps patients “trying to find that thing inside you that makes you who you are.” 

“Without art, I may not have survived my diagnoses, the streets, or been able to make independent living choices,” said Rami Maat, a patient artist in the hotel exhibit.

AbilityLab provides its art therapy program free of charge to its patients. They rely on their annual fundraiser, Art in Motion to cover the costs of this integral program. The partnership began last fall when the AbilityLab reached out to the Hotel for a raffle prize for Art in Motion according to Rineheart.

Laramie said during  the opening in February “it was amazing just to see five of the 10 artists here. These stories from these artists are incredible —their car accidents, myotonic dystrophy, etc.—and to see them talk about their work and their passion.”

There are plans to make the third floor gallery into a rotational one where works from future Art in Motion events will be displayed.

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