The Intercontinental Hotel is About to Become Milwaukee’s First ‘Arts Hotel’

The Intercontinental Hotel is getting a funky new facelift.

On Monday, Nov. 12, the Intercontinental Hotel was filled with nearly 400 Milwaukee artists of all kinds to hear the news about a re-branding of the space and call for proposals. The hotel, newly renamed Saint Kate, will be Milwaukee’s newest “arts hotel.” This new concept will be a place to create, discover and participate in the creative process for both artists and guests. Performances Monday night from Danceworks, Skylight Music Theatre, the MSO and New Age Narcissism gave a small taste of what the space could be, with the help of Milwaukee artists.

The Marcus Corporation, owner of the property, is inviting artists to use Saint Kate as a space to share their vision, passion and imagination with travelers and locals alike. “Our goal is to challenge people’s thinking about art and the creative process. By tapping into our creative community, we are using art as a tool to show that there is beauty in the process as well as the finished product,” said Greg Marcus, president and CEO of The Marcus Corporation.

Named for Saint Catherine, the patron saint of artists, Saint Kate is the first of its kind in Milwaukee. Part hotel, part gallery and performance space, the hotel will celebrate artistic expression in all forms. The hotel’s motto, “invite participation and expect change,” will challenge visitors to keep an open mind.

The Pfister Hotel, also owned by the Marcus Corporation, has a working gallery and residency programs for artists and writers. Saint Kate will also have residency programs, but will go beyond that with multiple galleries and performance spaces, short-term exhibitions and the opportunity to view art being created onsite.

Hotel leadership envisions locals, artists and travelers all using the space to create and gather. “We are using the hotel for people to share their imagination with travelers and locals, and we want to try and find a place for everyone,” says VP of Marketing Erin Levzow.

Sandwiched between the Rep and the Pabst Theatre, and steps away from The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, this might be the perfect location for such a bold experiment. With the addition of the new hall for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and dance center for the Milwaukee Ballet within walking distance, Milwaukee is really taking its reputation as a cultural destination seriously.

The Intercontinental will close in December for the transformation to Saint Kate. Renovations will include the 219 existing guest rooms, the addition of 13,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, 11 event rooms and three restaurants, as well as bars and lounges. The space aims to set itself apart from others with new art-centric additions like a theater for a variety of performances, gallery space and a working Artist in Residence studio. The completely renovated and rebranded hotel will re-open to the public in Spring 2019.

Saint Kate is currently seeking proposals from artists around the world for art they’d like to create in the space, which will be reviewed by an independent arts advisory board comprising leaders from Milwaukee arts organizations and other creative influencers. All ideas for creative uses of the space are welcome and should be emailed to:



Jenna Kashou is a writer, storyteller and journalist specializing in lifestyle and culture feature writing for print and web. She is a frequent contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, MKE Lifestyle Magazine, The Business Journal and more. She was chosen as the fifth writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel where she wrote about and photographed guests and events. A Milwaukee native, Kashou has lived abroad and visited far-flung locales like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. She has always had an enormous sense of pride for her hometown and spreads this Milwaukee love everywhere she goes.