On November 3, 2017, Innisfree Hotels celebrated a private reception for Luna Fine Art Gallery at the Hilton Pensacola Beach, during an evening filled with food, drink, artists and art lovers.

While the gallery’s name is a nod to Tristán de Luna y Arellano – the Spanish explorer who settled Pensacola – the name works on another level. Luna is a Latin word for ‘moon,’ which is the light in the darkness whose reflection comes from the sun. As German composer Robert Schumann once said, “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts, such is the duty of the artist.”

Shaughnessy Johnson, Gallery Director, adds an interesting note that explains its origin.

“The word ‘lunatic’ was once used to describe the behavior of people around the time of a full moon,” he says. “They would call these people eccentric or radicalized, so we wanted to adopt the term ‘lunatic’ to describe people who are crazy about the arts and the environment. We refer to those passionate artists as the ‘lunatics,’ while the ‘luna-crats’ are the art lovers who advocate for the arts.”

By that definition, Julian MacQueen, founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels, counts himself and his wife, Kim, among the ‘luna-crats.’

“At Innisfree Hotels, we wanted to have a bit of a role to play in bringing art to the community and being a good corporate citizen to the communities in which we have hotels,” says Julian. “We thought it was appropriate to kick it off here at the Hilton. It’s our crown jewel.”

Julian attributed much of his love for the arts to his sister.

“I’d also like to thank my sister, Elizabeth MacQueen,” he says. “She’s always been an inspiration to me in understanding what art does for mankind.”

Lisa Puzon, Gallery Director of Luna Fine Art Gallery, spoke about what the evening meant to her.

“It’s a dream come true,” she says.

Part of that dream involves artists Pat and Kristen Regan, the mother-daughter duo whose work is the first to be exhibited at Luna Fine Art Gallery. Pat’s ‘Retrospective’ exhibit features a number of paintings from her collection.

“For Kim and Julian to do something like this for the arts is just incredible,” she says.

Guests to the event described the gallery as ‘lovely, stunning and thought-provoking work,’ and ‘love the idea and the venue at the beach.’

For Pat, working side-by-side with her daughter is very meaningful.

“I’m so happy that my daughter Kristen has taken up the banner,” she says. “She’s fighting for the environment and making a real statement with her work.”

Kristen’s exhibit ‘Plastisphere’ is a series of photographs featuring disposable plastics. Kristen has a clear message and theme throughout her work.

“I am trying to eliminate the use of single-use plastics as much as possible,” she says. “If I could just have one person decide to stop using bottled water, then I feel like I’ve made a change.”

The numbers alone are enough to grab your attention.

“Eight million metric tons of plastic goes into the ocean,” says Kristen. “A small change can make a huge impact.”

Luna Fine Art Gallery is the newest project of significance to Innisfree Hotels’ corporate social responsibility program, The Hive. Another way Luna Fine Art Gallery plans to give back to the community is by sharing 40 percent of proceeds sold to the public from this exhibit with Dixon School of the Arts, the school that inspired and shaped much of Innisfree’s charitable giving.

Luna Fine Art Gallery is only the first foray into the arts for Innisfree Hotels. Julian MacQueen talked about plans for the next big exhibit.

“Our next rollout is going to be in New Orleans at The Mercantile Hotel,” he says. “It’s right in the Arts and Warehouse District.”

Luna Fine Art Gallery is officially open to the public, so stop by the Hilton Pensacola Beach to enjoy the beginning of what is shaping up to be an artistic and environmental movement on the Gulf Coast.

Hilton Pensacola Beach is located at 12 Via De Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach, FL. For more information, visit the Luna Fine Art Gallery website or call (850) 916-2999.