Mural at San Jose International Airport saved

Here’s an airport art story with a happy ending:

Now that San Jose International Airport has opened it swanky new Terminal B, it’s time to go ahead and demolish Terminal C.

But before allowing the wrecking ball to come in, officials had to figure out what they were going to do with this giant, 540 square-foot mural in the lobby.

San Jose Airport mural saved

(Photo by Ben Wang)

Painted by Millard Sheets, the mural depicts the history of Santa Clara Valley and has been in the main hall of Terminal C since 1977.  The mural was painted on canvas and then glued to the sheetrock walls. Art conservators had concluded that getting the mural off the wall could cost more than $1 million – if it could be taken off the wall at all.

After exploring all the alternatives, the city and the airport decided to simply take a high resolution picture of the mural and hang that picture elsewhere in the airport.  Demolition was scheduled to take place on Friday and the artist’s son, Tony Sheets, had flown in from Oregon to get a look his late father’s last mural and lend a hand.

But as the explains, Sheets and four construction workers “simply peeled the ends of the mural and attached them to long poles — in this case plastic and copper pipes scavenged from the old terminal — and rolled the mural off, sort of like rolling up a sleeping bag tight.”

So it’s a happy ending.

Instead of putting up a photograph of the mural, travelers at San Jose International Airport will get to see the real thing.

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2 thoughts on “Mural at San Jose International Airport saved

  1. Thanks for your note. According to the airport’s Dave Vossbrink:

    “The mural is still being cleaned by art conservators, but we have determined where it will go up when ready — we will remount it inside Terminal A by our international arrivals gates. We’re hoping this will be in early 2011. We probably will have a modest re-dedication ceremony when the time comes.”

    A happy ending!

  2. Where is that mural now? Any plans to re-hang it anywhere in the airport, or anywhere in San Jose?

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