Thursday, August 23, 2012

Birmingham Exhibition Offers Alternative Portraits of Black Culture

Intimate Interiors, an exhibition presenting alternative portraits of Black culture spanning mid-20th century to modern day, debuts at the Birmingham Museum of Art on Sunday, August 26.

As a mixed media exhibition, Intimate Interiors presents 12 portraits of black subjects in intimate moments and spaces that include religious worship, bedrooms, and entertaining. Ranging from a depiction of elderly women at church in the south, to young people dancing the jitterbug on a Saturday night, the exhibition focuses on the intimate moments of everyday life in black culture.

“In such spaces, we are at our most comfortable, and oftentimes most vulnerable. The exhibition offers alternative images to racist images of blacks that we often encounter in our global visual culture,” says Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Dr. Jeffreen M. Hayes. “By exhibiting alternative images, we encourage dialogue about the similarities we share while celebrating black cultural experiences.”

The exhibition’s opening coincides with the Sankofa Soiree at the Birmingham Museum of Art on Saturday, August 25.  The 4th annual Sankofa Soiree is hosted by The Sankofa Society: Friends of African American and African Art and carries the theme Intimate Evening of Art, which connects to the exhibition Intimate Interiors. The weekend will begin Friday night with a reception and champagne toast, whereupon Sankofa Society members can meet and greet with the weekend's honoree, Theaster Gates, a Chicago-based artist and urban planner. The soirĂ©e on Saturday will feature a series of live musical entertainment, dinner, and a celebration of the Museum's African American and African art. Visit for more details. 

Intimate Interiors is presented by Cadence Bank and will be on display until December 3, 2012 in the Museum’s Bohorfoush gallery, which is dedicated to the exhibition of African-American art.

About the Curator

Jeffreen M. Hayes completed her doctoral studies at the College of William and Mary in the American Studies program. Her specialty is contemporary African American art and visual culture. Dr. Hayes is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in African American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

About the Birmingham Museum of Art: Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art has one of the finest collections in the Southeast. More than 24,000 objects displayed and housed within the Museum represent a rich panorama of cultures, including Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American. Highlights include the Museum’s collection of Asian art, Vietnamese ceramics, the Kress collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the late 13th century to the 1750s, and the Museum’s world-renowned collection of Wedgwood, the largest outside of England.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

S.F. Travel Assoc. Announces Recipients of 2011/2012 Neighborhood Partnership Grants

Businesses in the Castro District, Civic Center, Hayes Valley, Mission District, Noe Valley, Polk St. and SOMA selected in third year of program to bring more visitors to San Francisco’s neighborhoods and get more unique local businesses involved in tourism industry

August 21, 2012 – The San Francisco Travel Association has selected ten unique businesses to receive its 2012/2013 Neighborhood Partnership Grants.   Now in its third year, the grant program was created to extend the economic impact of San Francisco’s tourism industry into the city’s diverse neighborhoods and involve more businesses located outside the traditional visitor areas in San Francisco Travel’s programs.
The ten recipients were selected for the unique “Only in San Francisco” nature of their businesses, the potential to attract visitors to their neighborhoods and their commitment to participate fully in the program. 
Recipients each receive a complimentary one-year San Francisco Travel partnership, including benefits such as listings online and in publications and access to the Convention Calendar.  The grants also include admission to San Francisco Travel events such as the Annual Luncheon, Market Briefings, Outlook Forums and Partner Business Exchanges, often with exclusive one-on-one meetings with the presenters.  The Neighborhood Partnership Grants recipients receive individual mentoring by the association’s professional staff and experienced San Francisco Travel partners.

“Each year, we have had the pleasure of discovering some of the city’s lesser-known gems from a variety of areas.  By providing partnership grants to these under-exposed businesses, we help to draw more visitors into the city’s diverse and fascinating neighborhoods, while giving them the tools to play an active role in San Francisco’s most important industry,” said San Francisco Travel President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro.  “This third set of grants recipients are unique, inviting experiences that really illustrate the treasures to be found in San Francisco’s neighborhoods.”

The selections were made by a panel representing the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, San Francisco Travel‘s Community Engagement Council and association staff.
The 2012/2013 San Francisco Travel Neighborhood Partnership Grant recipients are (alphabetically):

Civic Center Community Benefit District – (Civic Center), 415-626-1819.
The Civic Center itself is an historic district, with several landmark Beaux Arts buildings.  Cultural institutions based here include museums, theatre, symphony, opera, ballet, jazz and other fine and performing arts.  The CCCBD was formed in 2011 to benefit residents, patrons, visitors, employees, merchants, property owners and others in the area.

Cotton Basics – 1301 Castro St. (Noe Valley), 415-550-8646,
Since 1982, Cotton Basics has produced natural fiber clothing in an extensive range of colors and styles.  The garments are designed, sewn and dyed in the Bay Area and are only available at the three Cotton Basics stores. Today, Cotton Basics remains one of the few sources of 100% sweatshirt and sweatpants in the USA.

Discovery Street Tours – (Various neighborhoods), 415-663-6768, Explore science on the streets of San Francisco with these one-of-a-kind walking tours. Investigate microscopic magic in bread and cheese. Uncover San Francisco’s history of innovation. Get up close with the famously hilly geology. Stroll hidden alleyways, take in breathtaking vistas, and meet other folks like yourself—curious, active, and a little beyond the ordinary.

Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum – 1620 Polk St. (Polk St.), 415-345-0400,,
With a collection that dates from the 1800’s to 1970’s, the museum covers the invention and functions of early vibrators in a beautiful exhibit.  The free museum is located inside Good Vibrations on Polk Street, the trusted San Francisco-based company that has provided accurate information on sexuality and toys for grown-ups for over 35 years.

La Cocina – 2949 Folsom St. (Mission District), 415-824-2729,
San Francisco’s first incubator kitchen helps talented entrepreneurs to create successful and sustainable small businesses.  Visitors benefit from a wider variety of dining experiences, cooking classes at La Cocina’s kitchen, the annual San Francisco Street Food Festival and more.

Locally Grown Weddings & Events – (Various neighborhoods), 415-264-3810,
 This team of San Francisco-based small business owners puts the emphasis on green business practices. Brides will appreciate the one-stop-shop convenience and their in-depth knowledge of unique local venues.
Lovejoy’s Tea Room & Attic – 1350-51 Church St. (Noe Valley), 415-648-5895,
Lovejoy’s offers tea services and pub fare in a cozy, quirky setting filled with mis-matched china and furniture.  A playful spirit permeates the room, making it a unique venue for parties, showers or special events.

Mudpuppy’s – 536 Casto St. (Castro), 415-431-8899,
Mudpuppy’s offers full service or self service dog washing perfect for visiting pooches after a day of romping through San Francisco’s parks and beaches.  They even offer curbside valet service so humans can keep on exploring the city while their pet is being pampered.

SOMArts Cultural Center – 934 Brannan St (South of Market), 415-863-1414,
Cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms at SOMArts, one of four City-owned cultural centers. Home to one of San Francisco's largest open-air galleries and a 100 seat black box theater, SOMArts exhibits contemporary work by more than 1,000 Bay Area artists each year, emphasizing artistic experimentation, audience participation and community connectivity.
Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours – (Hayes Valley & Various neighborhoods),               Guided bike tours in small groups explore safe, bike-friendly routes that go around those infamous hills and through the city’s diverse neighborhoods.  Highlights along the way include modern culture, unique history, public art, and tasty local cuisine.

The San Francisco Travel Association is a private, not-for-profit organization that markets the city as a leisure, convention and business travel destination.  With more than 1,500 partner businesses, San Francisco Travel is one of the largest membership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country. Tourism, San Francisco's largest industry, generates in excess of $8.4 billion annually for the local economy and supports over 71,000 jobs.

The San Francisco Travel business offices are located at 201 Third St., Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103. San Francisco Travel also operates the Visitor Information Center at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street at the corner of Powell and Market streets. For more information, call 415-974-6900 or visit
Join more than 450,000 people who follow San Francisco Travel on Facebook at  Follow “OnlyinSF” on Twitter at
American Express® is the official Card partner for the San Francisco Travel Association.
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Friday, August 10, 2012


New 150-suite SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown is
Part of Metropolitan State University

DENVER, CO – August 10, 2012 – Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Denver, the new 150-suite SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State is now open. The $45 million hotel is a part of the Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver campus and a short walk from many Denver attractions, including the Pepsi Center, the Colorado Convention Center, Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall.

The hotel is adjacent to MSU Denver’s new Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (HLC), a 28,000-square-foot educational facility that combines classrooms with interactive laboratories to provide an experiential curriculum for the university’s 635 Hospitality, Tourism and Events students. State-of-the-art classrooms include a Sensory Analysis Laboratory for wine and food tastings and a Cellar Management Laboratory, which boasts a 3,100+ bottle wine storage cellar. 

The ribbon cutting on the new SpringHill Suites Denver on August 8, 2012.   
PHOTO CREDIT: Springhill Suites Denver

MSU students will work in the hotel each semester and supply up to 80 percent of the hotel’s workforce.  Hotel General Manager Scott Perry and Director of Sales & Marketing Anne Frye will both teach classes in the HLC.  There are only 10 other universities in the United States with an operating hotel attached to their hospitality program, none of them in a downtown urban setting.

“Tourism is the second largest industry in both Denver and Colorado supporting more than 137,000 jobs in the state, so we are thrilled that MSU Denver is the first urban setting to have an student operated hotel attached to their hospitality school,” states Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Through this school and hotel, we are going to be able to bring new leaders into our hospitality industry, and at the same time we have added a beautiful new property and 150 new rooms just a short walk from the Colorado Convention Center,” Scharf said.

The SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State features 150 spacious and stylish guest suites, each with a flexible work space with a well-lit desk and ergonomic chair, as well as a separate sleeping area. Each suite also offers a microwave, mini-fridge, a seating area with pull-out sofa bed and a spa-like bathroom. Hotel amenities include complimentary hot breakfast served daily, a Market, a fitness center and complimentary wireless Internet.

The hotel and HLC also features more than 650 stunning pieces of innovative and original artwork, all created by students, faculty and alumni of MSU Denver.

The SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State expects to receive Silver Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Green features include the use of only high efficiency plumbing fixtures and low VOC paints and flooring, plus preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles. The hotel features secure bicycle storage plus lockers and changing rooms to encourage employees to use alternative transportation. Over 90 percent of the hotel’s regularly occupied areas offer natural day lighting reducing the need for artificial lighting. In addition, more than 75 percent of material waste from the hotel’s construction was recycled.

The Spring Hill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State offers 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space and can accommodate groups of up to 250 people. The hotel’s J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Conference Center features a 2,174 square foot ballroom, which can be divided into three sections, plus 2,617 square feet of pre-function space with a stunning glass wall offering exceptional views of the downtown Denver skyline.

This fall, Red Robin Burger Works will open at the hotel, a fast casual restaurant serving gourmet burgers and sandwiches, fresh salads and classic sides. Red Robin is headquartered in Denver.

The SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown is located at 1190 Auraria Parkway in Denver. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit or call 303-705-7300.

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Pictured left to right are: 
Adam Sherer, SpringHill Suites by Marriott
Callette Nielsen, Vice President and Global Brand Manager, Springhill Suites by Marriott
Tye Turman – Senior Vice President of Development for the Western Region, Marriott International
Janice Sinden, Chief of Staff, City of Denver
Dr. Stephen Jordan, President, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Walter Isenberg – Co-Founder, CEO and President, Sage Hospitality
Rachel Benedick, Vice President, VISIT DENVER
Beth Korsos, Vice President, Marriott Franchise Services
Scott Perry – General Manager, SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State University
Monica Kennedy – Membership Account Executive, Denver Chamber of Commerce
Anne Frye – Director of Sales and Marketing, SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State University

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About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating more than 100 years of promoting The Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. Tourism is the second largest industry in Denver, generating $3.3 billion in annual spending in 2011, while supporting nearly 50,000 jobs. Learn more about Denver on the VISITDENVER website and at TOURISMPAYSDENVER, on Twitter @iknowdenver and the VISIT DENVER Facebook page, or by phone at 800 2 DENVER.