Jeremy Cowart’s humanitarian hotel

He’s photographed Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Sting, Courtney Cox, and plenty more high-profile subjects. Now celebrity portrait photographer Jeremy Cowart is taking on a completely different challenge: launching a humanitarian hotel brand.

Jeremy Cowart's humanitarian hotel, by portrait photographer Jeremy Cowart
© Jeremy Cowart

The Purpose Hotel, which will open its first location in Nashville, Tennessee, will allow guests to give back to charity simply by booking a room. The hotel’s furniture, artwork, and in-room amenities such as shampoo, soap, and coffee will be acquired from nonprofits whose mission is to help others. For example, Cowart hopes to partner with a furniture supplier that employs the homeless as well as a textile company that produces hand-made blankets sewn by human trafficking survivors. “So by staying in your hotel room, you’re helping a long list of great causes and great nonprofits,” he explains.

As you’d expect, the hotel will incorporate photographic artworks. “That’s something I’m looking forward to curating,” says Cowart, who envisions uplifting images by humanitarian photographers displayed in the lobby, hallways, and guest rooms. “It would be a dream to feature photographs from Humans of New York,” he says of Brandon Stanton’s well-known portrait project. He’s also considering a projection system that would flash a feed of Instagram images onto a wall. “There are endless fun ways to incorporate art and photography.”

In taking on this new endeavor, Cowart will continue to make photographs, just with new focus. “I will forever be a photographer and an artist,” he says. “I just think I will pivot into more personal projects and less client work.” 

Amanda Arnold is the associate editor of Professional Photographer.