"Hotel Biba is not a typical West Palm Beach hotel," Walker-Tomé explains. "It's very design-oriented, with clean lines and bright, unusual colors. So my husband [fellow artist Gregg Tomé] and I decided to give artists the site-specific challenge of designing equally interesting and experimental installation pieces for the rooms."
Eleven selected rooms feature performance art as well as sculpture, sound pieces, and visual projections on walls, in bathrooms, on beds, and across ceilings. The only stipulations are that the work must be installed and taken out the same day and that nothing can be nailed into the walls. Therefore, artists must create guerrilla artfare, and visitors to the hotel are encouraged to grab a map and go on an art hunt throughout the hotel's winding courtyards and gardens.
"I moved to West Palm Beach from L.A. and noticed there were no real alternative spaces for art. I wanted to see something outside of the traditional gallery setting," Walker-Tomé says of the inspiration for Showtel. "When we came across this hotel, we were blown away. I think there's really a desire and hunger for something culturally different in South Florida." And if last year's turnout of more than 200 people is any indication, Walker-Tomé is onto something. There will also be complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drink specials in the hotel's Biba Bar.