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Trend Report: Art, Accessed

  • Insights

As the worlds of the high-brow art enthusiast and techy millennial collide, the appreciation and collection of art have tempered from an expensive and exclusive practice to one of newfound accessibility and creativity. WGSN’s most recent trend forecast offers art as a growing retail opportunity to improve experiential living — and in the age of shifting retail markets that’s an offer worth taking.


It’s time for a new anchor, a new way to develop sense of place. As consumers look to make all aspects of their lives more experiential, retailers have taken note and are pushing art to the forefront of what they do. Even so, not that much has changed — hotels and shops are still capitalizing on the pull of incredible pieces that have drawn observers to galleries for centuries.  But what happens when you take the art out of the showroom and instead display it in the middle of a hotel lounge — like at the 21c Museum Hotels — or make a major statement on the walls of your office lobby? Cue the mural installation that local artist Elizabeth Graeber painted at our Bethesda headquarters a few weeks ago. Streetsense team members create highly experiential spaces and brands for their clients every day, so why not harness that practice and bring it into our space? We collaborated with Elizabeth to design a mural that played to her strengths as a watercolor artist, but also reflected the diversity of our collective. The result was a floor-to-ceiling mural behind our reception area that gives our guests a glimpse of how we approach experiential design and strive to foster creative community, and serves as a source of daily inspiration for our team members.


It’s time to officially welcome the art-lennial to the scene. For all of the grief they catch, millennials’ desire for art is successfully driving its accessibility in the modern market. Through increased print services and digitalization, all art — from minimalist sketches to more traditional renderings — is quite literally available for purchase at our fingertips thanks to smartphones. If a real estate investment is a stretch, try perusing your favorite auction house’s online offerings. Or, consider the newest collaboration between Nordstrom and Anthropologie for all of your in-home gallery needs. The harsh line that has existed between art and accessibility for centuries is quickly fading — take advantage of it.


It’s true — an insight into social media’s global impact is always lurking around the corner, and with art it’s no different. It would seem that with Instagram and a bit of a creative eye, mere art appreciators can become celebrated masters in their own right. Whether riffing off the style of famed artists like René Magritte,  photoshopping Mona Lisa’s head onto the body of a modern woman, or conceptualizing innovative digital designs, creatives are drawing inspiration from new mediums and using Instagram to showcase the classics in a fresh and evocative way.


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