CEO, 21c Hotels
Steve Wilson has found success by using his passion and intuition as a guide in preservation, investing, collecting contemporary art and farming. A native Kentuckian, Wilson actively pursues community development projects aimed at revitalizing urban, cultural and architectural landscapes, and offering alternatives to suburban sprawl. Wilson and his wife Laura Lee Brown are the founders and creative force behind 21c Museum Hotels, the award-winning boutique hotel and restaurant group. With the goals of engaging the public with contemporary art in a new way, and contributing to the revitalization of Louisville’s cultural center, they opened 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville in 2006. They converted five vacant buildings into a contemporary art museum accessible to the public free of charge, 365 days a year, and combined it with Louisville’s first boutique hotel. 21c would create both an economic driver for the community and an oasis where art challenges, amuses, stimulates conversation, and provokes new ideas. Much more than just a place to spend the night, 21c 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.