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El Capitan Hotel,
the Mainzer Theater,
and the Tioga

Merced, California

  • Hospitality
  • Mixed-Use
  • West Coast
  • Art Curation
  • NuovoRE
  • Full collection features 120 artworks representative of the history, character and future of Merced.

  • More than 80 artworks throughout The Mainzer and The Tioga, and 40 original installations at El Capitan Hotel.

  • In addition to the 14 commissioned artworks featured in the historic El Capitan Hotel, the space offers a rotating art program displayed as a sub-collection, in partnership with the Merced Multicultural Arts Center.

  • With the goal of being a hub for the local academic community, art professors, students, and faculty from surrounding universities such as Merced College and College of Sequoia, contributed their artistic talents to the El Capitan collection, including the exterior sculpture created using a 3D printer, by Cheryl Barnett.

  • The Mainzer Theatre houses dozens of pieces of vintage, story-telling memorabilia of Merced’s past.

  • Local artists were commissioned to paint portraits of well-known celebrities and notables that stayed at the Tioga or traveled through the town of Merced in years past.

  • Archive pieces and vintage artwork, including the original Tioga Hotel blueprints and photographs are framed and displayed on every floor.

  • The Mainzer Theatre’s art collection features a site-specific commissioned mural found in the multi-use space created by local artists, Patricia Pratt and Eddie O. Rodriguez as well as Erik Gonzalez.

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The Story

Once known as the “Gateway to Yosemite,” the town of Merced, California was a vibrant cityscape graced by cultural icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. A trio of hotel, event and multifamily spaces in the historic El Capitan Hotel, the Mainzer Theater and the Tioga Apartments offer hospitality and culture to visitors passing through and locals here to stay. Captured by the town’s rich history and paired modern themes, NINE dot ARTS intentionally crafted three diverse art collections. Intended to serve as a tour guide, the unique artworks ranging from murals to sculptures to vintage photographs walk guests through the stories of the once not-so-sleepy town, showcasing people on their voyage into world-renowned Yosemite National Park and beyond. 

El Capitan Hotel showcases a multitude of artworks from California’s Central Valley artistic talent, with the majority of selected artists being locals of the Central Valley area. The intriguing collection of 40 artworks shines a light on the rich history of Merced from the lobby to guest rooms, and also incorporates creations from art professors and students from surrounding universities such as Merced College and College of Sequoia. The artwork expands beyond expected artistic approaches, featuring mixed-media installations; time-traveling photography; oil and digital paintings; wood, ceramic and bronze sculptures; printmaking; and textiles. Multidimensional installations like Margaret Haden’s ceramic wall display, Ontogenesis, capturing the aerial view of Merced’s natural wonder and tourist-attracting almond orchards, illustrate the majestic beauty of the surrounding environment. 

Commissioned oil on canvas portraits of former dignitary hotel guests created by Central Valley artists Jackie Anderson, Tonia Hemme, and Donna Wayman-Mauer transport Tioga residents back in time. In addition, dozens of antique memorabilia, such as Selina Mosinski’s two 14- and 16-piece framed vintage pin displays; Ben Smith’s 5-piece series of timeless, framed movie posters; wood posts painted with beautiful Yosemite and El Capitan Summit nature scenes; Robert Shulte Jr.’s display of 16 vinyl records; and Merced street and highway signs, are displayed as collector’s items. The overall goal of the art collection found in the Tioga residences is to use art created in the modern age to tell the stories of the hotel’s glittery past. 

The approachable and playful art housed in the Mainzer commemorates the space’s history as a theatre and celebrates its new purpose as a movie cinema, restaurant and event venue with an anthology of posters from some of the 20th and 21st centuries’ cult classics. Tying in the timeless history of downtown Merced, NINE dot ARTS drew inspiration from the local culture and social gathering aspect of the Mainzer and partnered with the Merced Multicultural Arts Center to launch the multi-functional space’s authentic and engaging art program. With several artworks created from nostalgic materials such as old vinyl records, the most notable contemporary, yet historical display in the collection is the immersive mural painted by local artists Patricia Pratt along with the help of Eddie O. Rodriguez and Erik Gonzalez. From the floor to the ceiling of the Mainzer’s game room, the animated design brings in elements of Merced landmarks, nodding to the town’s most recognizable sights, while housing whimsical entertainment such as a jumbo tic-tac-toe and Connect 4. Guests encounter several multimedia works, including collage paintings, pop culture collectibles such as mixtape photographs and old Hollywood wooden matchboxes, and varying-sized shadow boxes displaying cut paper portraits of movie characters and scenes.

The art collection throughout the El Capitan Hotel, Mainzer Theatre and Tioga Apartments was curated by the NINE dot ARTS team to be the culturally vibrant, eye-catching, and electric tribute that was needed to reinvigorate the town’s downtown area.

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“Within hours of our new, local art collection being installed, we had guests asking about it. The artwork gets people to stop. They really look and think about it. Our collection has been a huge guest engagement point for the hotel and truly highlights Austin’s creative community.”

- James Prendeville, General Manager, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Austin

“NINE dot ARTS continues to exceed my expectations. As curators, their ability to identify and source artworks that are immersive and experiential has helped make our property a unique destination.”

- Chad Mcwhinney, CEO and Co-founder, Mcwhinney

NINE dot ARTS did an amazing job finding pieces that tell a story and communicate who we are as a philanthropic organization. The art in our office is a source of joy and pride, and is an essential part of the character of a space that is used by many, many community organizations.”

- Thomas A. Gougeon, President, Gates Family Foundation

“The NINE dot ARTS discovery process made creating a custom art collection, a seemingly daunting task, simple and fun. They truly understood our business and how to visually express what we do in unique and meaningful ways. Their knowledge of the art industry combined with their experience and countless local and national connections are extremely impressive.”

- Jenna Samek, Director Corporate Communications, Fourpoint Energy

“NINE dot ARTS was great to work with and made the art selection fun while capturing our story. They captured not only our image, culture and diversity but also those things that are outside the box that make the project feel right.

- Gary Branch, Director of Construction, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children

Our ability to create authentic experiences for our guests is a key differentiator against our competition, and the art program that NINE dot ARTS created is a prime example. Much of the art comes from current Boston University (BU) students and alumni, which really connects with our guests. As a result, we continue to grow our share of business from BU.”

- Adam Sperling, General Manager, Hotel Commonwealth

Nine dot Arts

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