Typewriter Wall in The Press Hotel

Typewriter Wall in The Press Hotel

Yesterday, June 23rd, was International Typewriter Day. To celebrate I wanted to share with you this absolutely beautiful art installation called “SWARM” found in The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine.

Located in the historic Gannett Building that once housed the Portland Press Herald newspaper, artist Erin Hutton and a collaborative team from Maine College of Art (MECA) created this one of  kind art exhibit.

Using 62 vintage typewriters Erin and her creative team mounted the machines on the wall in a circular swarm pattern so that the typewriters cascade out overhead as you walk below.

Typewriter wall in The Press Hotel

Typewriters have their own personalities

As Director of Exhibitions + Special Projects at MECA, Erin was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with typewriters as she remembers her Grandma’s typewriter with fondness.

Erin shared with me that by the end of the project she had developed a love/hate relationship with the typewriters. Take for instance, the giant brown beast of a typewriter that was very stubborn when it came time for installation. The typewriter in the eye-popping cherry red colour however, soon became her favorite.

Typewriter wall in The Press Hotel

It took over two days for all the typewriters to be installed

After planning and playing with layout at MECA, the typewriters were transported to the hotel. Each machine was installed one at a time over two and a half days. The result is absolutely stunning and unforgettable.

The typewriters themselves have to be maintained. This involves a 16 foot ladder and the nerve to scale it and dust all the machines, keeping them looking fresh and as captivating as ever.

Typewriter wall in The Press Hotel

A must-see destination hotel

The Press Hotel is a unique place in that it has made the history of its building part of the identity as a destination hotel. Meeting rooms are called ‘The Editorial Room,’ The Press Room,’ and ‘The Composing Room’ in keeping with the original function of the building.

You can find more of Erin’s work at Studio24b where she and her husband often collaborate on creating art for public and private spaces.

Although International Typewriter Day is technically passed, I am seriously thinking about paying a visit to a park this Sunday afternoon with typewriter in hand and setting up shop on a picnic table.

What do you think? Should I do it?

P.S. A special thanks to Erin Hutton for taking the time to speak with me and for the use of some of her photos.

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  1. Yes, go to see the typewriter art, and BE SURE to go to Powell’s Books!

    • Will be sure to jot this down, Ramona. Thank you for your recommendation. Now, to get myself there… 🙂

  2. Hi Barb,

    You should definitely come! What a great post on this exhibit, I’ve been lots of times and take all our visitors there. They also have a typewriter in the lobby with a pile of stationery available for use and encourage people to write a letter, and they will post it for you, with Press Hotel postage!

    One friend was reluctant, but once we got started she was totally hooked!

    I have a cherry red typewriter like the one on the wall (I think it’s the same model) and have identified two others similar to ones in my collection.

    I hope you received the note I sent last week, it was so great to hear from you!

    • Hello there dear friend, I did indeed receive that amazing stand up, adorable bird stationery! love. Soon to be featured in my ‘what’s in my mailbox’ series, no doubt. Thank you! Can’t believe you’ve been to this hotel.I’m so jealous! And the idea that people can use typewriter to write a letter…well, that just seals it, I must get myself there. Thanks for finding me and my ramblings. Talk soon in the post.

  3. When I was in the military, I was the ONLY person in the entire BUILDING that had a typewriter! I was talked about, with comments such as, “Why do you still have a typewriter?! We don’t use those anymore!” But, some military forms weren’t all converted to PDF format and had to be typed. Those that questioned in jest, were those that visited my office saying, “Hey, can I use your typewriter? I have some forms that need to be typed.” I sure wish that I had taken it with me when I retired because I miss that ol’ beast! 🙂

    • Kari, Love how the typewriter created it’s own karma! Too bad indeed you don’t still have it, but perhaps, you will stumble upon a replacement one of these days.