Bloomington’s Public Art Offerings Expand with Mural by Renowned Contemporary Artist Nina Chanel Abney at Graduate Bloomington

(BLOOMINGTON) – A one-of-a-kind mural drawing inspiration from popular culture and the Bloomington community’s love for basketball is currently being installed on the western facade of the Graduate Bloomington hotel at 210 East Kirkwood Avenue.

 Through mid-December, artists from the Library Street Collective are installing a mural created by nationally exhibiting artist Nina Chanel Abney featuring colorful abstract and figurative elements over a more than 1,300-square-foot visual field.  

This significant addition to the City’s collection of public art results from the City’s collaboration with AJ Capital Partners, the developer, owner, and operator of Graduate Hotels.  The City worked with AJ during the process of the hotel’s development to establish a public art component. As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting the community and nurturing its unique culture, the Graduate selected Abney based upon the recommendation of the Bloomington Art Commission.  With imagery and an aesthetic particularly suited to Bloomington, the mural complements the hotel’s bespoke furnishings and decorations, informed by the city’s traditions, figures, and landmarks.  

“Showcasing nationally recognized public art on Kirkwood is an exciting result of a successful public-private relationship,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton.  “We appreciate this investment by Graduate Bloomington in our city, and their collaborative approach to integrate with and enhance our Bloomington sense of place.” 

A multi-disciplinary artist, Abney’s public murals use elements of bold color, shape and movement to drive the work’s composition and address contemporary social issues.  Her visual language informed by popular imagery, and especially digital media, Abney’s work has particular resonance with young viewers. Among her many public art commissions, Abney’s work has recently been installed in the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the Cavaliers’ arena in Cleveland.  Abney’s paintings are currently on view in 30 Americans, an exhibition of painting, sculpture, and photography by influential contemporary African American artists at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. 

“It’s significant for Bloomington to have a major piece by Nina Chanel Abney,” said Assistant Director for the Arts Sean Starowitz.  “She was at the top of the arts commission’s dream list, so we’re thrilled that the Graduate acted upon our recommendation and invested in this work.  Her work has only become more prominent in the three years since we first recommended it, and giving it a home here brings Bloomington even more directly into the national and global conversation.”

About Graduate Hotels: 

Graduate Hotels is a hand-crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic university-anchored towns across the country.  Each hotel pays homage to the heritage of its unique town through cultural nods to the local community. Launched in 2014, there are currently 21 open and operating hotels across the U.S. and an additional 12 hotels under development slated to open by the end of 2020. Graduate Hotels is owned by Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners, a Chicago-based vertically-integrated real estate developer, owner and operator, founded by Ben Weprin in 2008.  For more information on Graduate Hotels, please visit