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Matt Cowden: the Art of Hospitality

The distinctive appeal of 21c Museum Hotel



 



One of Oklahoma City’s trendiest new hotels opened last summer near downtown. In the year that’s followed, 21c has established itself not only as a leader in the city’s hospitality industry, but in the arts community, as well. Located at 900 W Main in the former Fred Jones automobile plant, 21c offers luxurious guest rooms, as well as the excellent Mary Eddy’s Kitchen + Lounge, plus 14,000 square feet of art exhibition space.
 

Under the leadership of General Manager Matt Cowden, 21c Hotel is one of the national chain’s up-and-coming new venues, and he shares some thoughts on what sets it apart from other hotels in the metro.

What’s it like being 21c’s general manager? “It’s amazing! I’m extremely blessed to work with incredibly passionate, hard-working teammates who strive each day to deliver the 21c experience to all our guests. It is a pleasure to help each of them grow personally and professionally, as I learn something new from them each day, as well.”

What sets it apart from other hotels? “Contemporary art is at the heart of the 21c experience. Much more than just a place to spend the night, 21c Museum Hotels is an inventive union of genuine hospitality, careful design and culinary creativity – all anchored by a contemporary art museum with thought-provoking exhibitions, interactive site-specific art installations and a full roster of cultural programming. 21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson – contemporary art collectors and preservationists who believe in the power of innovative and stimulating art to transform communities. Their passion for contemporary art and urban revitalization led them to open 21c Louisville in 2006, without the thought that there would be seven locations (soon to be eight) across the United States.”

You’re a native Oklahoman, right? “Absolutely. I was born in Oklahoma City, raised in Guthrie and attended college at UCO in Edmond. I’m extremely proud of my education and continued connection with UCO. After college, I left Oklahoma for a number of years with Marriott Hotels, working in markets such as New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas and Houston, and came back home to Oklahoma almost 15 years ago. Best decision I ever made.”

How has OKC grown and changed from when you were growing up? “To return home near the end of the original Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) and experience the incredible development that had occurred up to that point was inspiring, and validated my decision to stay in OKC and be a part of the future of hospitality in this market.”

You make your home in Guthrie, so do you commute every day to your office at 21c? “I do. My family has a very special connection to Guthrie. It’s where I was raised, and I’ve been so blessed to have had my kids experience the same childhood.”

You and your siblings started a walk/run in your hometown a few years ago; what is that all about? “In May 2008, my brother, Chris Cowden, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. In memory of his passion for the rescue and fair treatment of all animals, in addition to his zeal for running and athletics, our family and friends created the “See Spot Run” to honor Chris’ animal advocacy efforts and legacy. This will be our ninth year, with the event taking place on June 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Guthrie (see p. 102). All proceeds continue to go to the Free to Live Animal Sanctuary.”

What piques your interest when you’re not working, and what’s your favorite pastime? “I love spending time with my family, traveling when I can and being outdoors. In a nutshell, to me, that’s really what Oklahoma is all about.”

 

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September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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