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Luxury Developers are Curating Their Condos With In-House Artists


Art lessons, artist residency programs and exclusive partnerships with academies and galleries are helping these developers paint a new picture of high-end living

Aubrey Rosenhaus lives at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach in a four-bedroom duplex that her parents bought for $2.810 million in September. The 13-year-old’s new home has lots of fun features, including a rooftop pool deck, a movie theater and a 33-foot motorboat reserved for residents. But her favorite amenity is the Ritz-Carlton’s gleaming art studio, and its artist-in-residence, painter Magnus Sodamin.

“We would schedule these amazing classes every Wednesday—Magnus would watercolor with us,” said Aubrey, who attended the classes with her brothers, Bronson, 7, and Colton, 5. “He has a bunch of his art hanging up, so when I don’t know what to paint I look at one of his paintings.”

Mr. Sodamin, 32, who creates vivid, oversize paintings inspired by south Florida’s lush vegetation, enjoyed working with the kids in the Ritz-Carlton’s Piero Lissoni-designed art studio until late March, when he began staying home out of concern for the coronavirus. “It’s really clean, so it’s like, I had to practice being clean,” he said, of the 300-square-foot studio.

The newest weapon in luxury real estate’s amenities arms race is a paint brush. Developers are forging partnerships with art academies, art consultants and working artists to provide a range of aesthetic experiences for their residents, including watercolor lessons, behind-the-scenes gallery tours, and advice on collecting and installing art. Some are even letting artists use high-price apartments as studios or living space on a short-term basis.

Although some programs and amenities have been suspended in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, developers plan to resume them once the virus no longer poses a threat. Most are continuing to support the artists and art institutions they have partnered with, and some are even looking at ways to offer virtual arts programs for their residents. At the Ritz-Carlton, the art studio is still open to residents. “The kids can still paint on their own. It’s just way better with Magnus,” said Aubrey’s mother, Cassandra Hall, 42, a former Miami Heat dancer and Dolphins cheerleader.

Mr. Sodamin, meanwhile, has turned his bedroom into a painting studio. “I’m actually enjoying getting to listen to all my vinyls,” he said.


For developers, bringing in artists is a relatively inexpensive way to add a touch of glamour to luxury buildings in a cooling condo market. For artists, the relationship with high-end developers can be more complicated. In exchange for free space and exposure to a pool of wealthy potential collectors, they are expected to act as unofficial representatives for their tony new address. They must create work that is engaging and noncontroversial while keeping paint off costly finished floors—and put up with interruptions from curious residents and brokers showing apartments.

Read more via The Wall Street Journal.