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Tim Dixon, Owner of the Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee, Commissions Artist
Charles J. Dwyer to Create Murals on the Hotel's 102 Guest Room Walls

Artist Charles J. Dwyer pays homage to Milwaukee women,  building’s Industrial Era roots  
Milwaukee, WI (February 2008) – Noted artist and Milwaukee native Charles J. Dwyer tells a strong narrative through his editorial and fashion-based photographs.  These stories are to become a very public statement, thanks to a commission by the new Iron Horse Hotel.  The developer commissioned the artist to use his volumes of fine art, fashion photography to create original mixed-media murals to adorn entire walls in the guest rooms of the hotel, opening in summer 2008.
Dwyer’s signature style concurrently blends and contrasts classical aesthetics with romanticism and modern techniques, which aligns well with the hotel interiors of preserving the authentic industrial era of the 100-year-old, redeveloped warehouse.
Dwyer and the hotel’s developer, Milwaukeean Tim Dixon are childhood friends.  As Dixon refined his vision for the Iron Horse Hotel’s interiors, he called upon Dwyer to infuse that vision into the hotel’s art.  For Dwyer, nothing could have come more naturally; he has been capturing evocative and seamlessly fused images of Milwaukee women for years.
Nationally, Dwyer is renowned for his mastery of drawing and painting the female figurative subject.  His mixed-media works - employ his autobiographical account interweaved with symbols, designs, and abstract diversions to layer art history with his own bold and unique vision – have been described by critics as classical and worthy of standing the test of time.
A few years ago, Dwyer actively began challenging the stereotypes of Milwaukee women through fashion-forward and provocative images.  He began photographing local women, acquaintances and inexperienced models, making costumes and building original and ornate stage sets to accentuate the timeless nature of the female subject.  At the Iron Horse Hotel, these images will be printed in large format on archival canvas, hand embellished by Dwyer, and installed in each of the guest rooms.  A total of 20 images will be selected, one for each room per floor and then repeated on the five subsequent guest floors.
Each sepia-toned photographic mural is embellished with a patina of transparent hues that reflect the hotel’s overall color palette – rust, Verde green, hemlock gold, steel and aubergine. In fact, Dwyer served as a color consultant on the entire project.  Prior to the renovation of the interior, he created an original series of photographs in the building’s boiler room during construction.  Some of these images will adorn walls of what is now called The Boiler Room, retrofitted with a massive hot tub.  
Dwyer was also commissioned to create original frescoes sensitive to the WPA style throughout the hotel.  He is no stranger to this work because of his experience in the restoration of historical buildings.  In addition to fine art, Dwyer is a muralist who has restored landmark works from a dome in the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the murals of the Waldorf Astoria, NYC.  He has taken these skills and applied them to what has been his signature portraiture works.
The Wisconsin native and graduate of the Milwaukee School of Art has developed a national following since his first New York exhibition sold out in 1992.  Dwyer says it has been fulfilling to work on such a prominent project in the city he calls home with one of his closest lifelong friends.  It’s this passion for the commission that is reflected in the many aspects of The Iron Horse Hotel the artist has touched.
Iron Horse Hotel™ Developer’s First Hotel a Groundbreaker

For the company’s first hotel project, Dixon Development LLC is undertaking an industry first – a modern luxury boutique hotel geared for an untapped market, the high-end motorcycle enthusiast. Located in the firm’s home town of Milwaukee, the Iron Horse Hotel will offer a marriage of upscale business services, refined leisure traveler experiences and, unlike any other premium hotel in the country, special amenities for riders.

Principal Tim Dixon understands his clientele. “I am my customer,” said Dixon. “I travel for business and I ride – and I expect the same level of service, design and amenities whether I’m working, playing or wearing leathers. Right now, it doesn’t exist.” To this end, the Iron Horse Hotel will blend state-of-the-art business services within a modern luxury setting, complete with extensive amenities to accommodate motorcycles and riders.

Dixon also understands building in the context of its environment, and the Iron Horse Hotel will take full advantage of its location in a historic district. The 100-year-old building will be blocks from the convention center and close to its new neighbor, the Harley-Davidson Museum. By maintaining the architecture of a classic timber frame construction warehouse, his firm is taking a design-forward approach to the American Industrial era with subtle references to the motorcycle culture. Dixon Development’s current portfolio reflects a dedication to redevelopment that works within its surroundings. The company specializes in transforming underutilized buildings and land within urban and rural environments.

“I believe in the preservation of existing architecture, accented by modern design and functionality,” said Dixon. The firm’s projects reflect this often-heard mantra from Dixon, a former roofer, carpenter and restaurant owner.

To learn more about the Iron Horse Hotel and inquire about reservations for summer 2008, please visit or call 888-543-IRON.
Opening early summer 2008, the new Iron Horse Hotel transforms an Industrial era 100-year old warehouse into a modern luxury boutique hotel.  Located in downtown Milwaukee, just blocks from the Midwest Airlines Convention Center and steps from the new Harley-Davidson Museum, the Iron Horse Hotel is the first in the industry to appeal to both sophisticated business travelers and the growing segment of motorcycle enthusiasts.  The 102-room hotel offers complimentary wireless Internet, iPod docking stations, flat-screen televisions, luxury linens, a fitness center, spa treatment rooms and, coming before 2009, The Boiler Room which features a dramatic indoor hot tub/chilling pool.  Dining options include 24-hour room service and a full-service restaurant offering indoor and outdoor terrace dining and lobby lounge service.  For the business traveler, Iron Horse Hotel boasts on-demand business services as well as a 24-hour business center; meeting, banquet and catering facilities; valet parking, and complimentary car service to the airport and other downtown locations. For the motorcycle enthusiast, the Iron Horse Hotel will feature secured covered motorcycle parking, rag bins, an on-site bike wash, packed saddle bag lunches, road trip maps and in-room storage areas for boots, helmets and heavy riding leathers.  
The Iron Horse Hotel is managed by Desires Hotels, a Miami-based hotel management company which provides a wide range of services to both institutional and individual owners of independently branded modern boutique hotels in the United States and Caribbean.  The Desires portfolio currently includes the award-winning 93-room Sagamore Hotel and the 87-room condo hotel The Strand Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, FL, the award-winning 76-room San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the 110-room Glenn Hotel in Atlanta, GA, and the 235-room Hotel Mela in New York City, NY. For more information about Desires Hotels, call 305.577.8484 or visit


Michel Lauren Fox
212.868.1900 x259

Also See: Andrea Haralampopoulos Named Director of Sales of Milwaukee’s New 102-room Iron Horse Hotel / January 2008
Developer Charles Gabaldon Plans to Convert Mostly Vacant Office Building in Downtown Milwaukee into a 160-room Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites / January 2008


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