You know how during the airline safety instructions (you pay attention, right?) they say the nearest exit may be behind you?
Well, sometimes at the airport the coolest art features may be below you.
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) one of the artworks is a river of 300 brass fish running along the terrazzo floor in Concourse B.
The work is called Flying Fish and is by Judith and Daniel Caldwell.
Most of the fish are regular fish, but there are some unusual ones in there.
Including the fish spotted swimming with a suitcase.
We’ve been walking over the floor and appreciating the fish for years, but yesterday was the first time we noticed this bonus traveling fish.
Maybe it was because it was early in the day and we could actually take our time walking down the concourse.
But we think it was because after being so nervous about traveling during the pandemic, we’re finally starting to go back to our normal travel mode of being excited to travel and alert to everything around us.
The big, bright, open lobby has a cafe in the center with comfortable chairs and there’s artwork from the collection of the Phoenix Airport Museum all over the facility, including down the hallways that lead to the restrooms.
Here’s a link to a guided tour of the art on display at the PHX rental car center that’s yet to be updated with the newest and biggest installation: a three-panel mural by Paul Coze titled “The Phoenix” that is 75 feet wide and 16 feet high.
The mural was installed in PHX Terminal 2 back in the early 1960s. But when Terminal 2 was demolished, the mural was moved here. You can learn more about the artist, the images in the mural, and the heroic effort it took to safely remove the mural from Terminal 2 and reinstall it at the rental car center here and in our article for The Points Guy here.
But we want to take a few moments to talk about – and mourn – the amenities that were once in PHX Terminal 2.
What Once Was at PHX Terminal 2
When Terminal 2 opened at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the 1960s it was one of the most modern airport terminals in the country.
PHX shared a list of the amenities at the new, modern, terminal.
In addition to a long concourse with 10 gates and an indoor (indoor!) baggage carousel, the terminal had a hotel reservation kiosk with individual phones connected directly to each hotel’s reservation desk.
Other amenities included a game room with pinball machines, a rooftop observation deck, shops, a bank, a barbershop, a flower cart, a cocktail lounge, a restaurant with a glass-enclosed terrace, and, up above, The Phoenix mural by Paul Coze.
All those terminal features were certainly swanky for the time. But what really caught our attention was the nursery where passengers and airport visitors could leave their kids while they enjoyed all the amenities in the terminal.
Over the years, many (OK, most) of those amenities were set aside.
And over time the terminal was remodeled in such a way that “The Phoenix” mural was no longer easy to see or fully appreciate.
According to Gary Martelli, Phoenix Airport Museum manager & curator, during the first remodel, in the 1980s, parts of the mural became obscured when the terminal ceiling was lowered, and the columns were rounded. In the 1990s, a new restaurant was built with a vent hood in front of the mural. Then, in the early 2000s, security enhancements created a long wall bisecting the Terminal 2 lobby and further obscuring views of the mural.
Now, in its new home in the southwest corner of the central escalator lobby in the PHX Rental Car Center, “The Phoenix” is easy to see and impossible to miss. Nearby are exhibit cases with information about Terminal 2 and artist Paul Coze, along with photos from the initial installation of the mural. As a nice touch, there are also viewing telescopes (at two heights) to allow visitors to take a closer look at the details and embellishments in the mural.
Fifty-nine years later, the airport unveiled its History Museum, detailing decades of serving the community.
The 350 square foot History Museum is near the Escape Lounge in GSP’s Grand Hall and is accessible to departing and arriving passengers 24 hours a day.
The museum gives visitors a detailed look at GSP from the founders’ vision in the 1940s through the present day and on to future plans. Exhibits include photos, videos, and first-hand accounts of the airport’s impact on the region. A special section is dedicated to the Flatwood Peaches baseball team that played on fields where the airport is located.
Airport Employees Share Their Art at FLL
In Florida, Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is hosting the sixth installment of its employee artwork exhibition titled I Bet You Didn’t Know. This year, the exhibit showcases 46 artworks by 28 FLL employees and is on view through March 17, 2022, in the walkway connecting Terminals 3 and 4.
The work includes paintings, drawings, collages and acrylic pours, by artists whose airport jobs include security personnel, vendor operators, flight attendants, and other professions.
Next time you’re served a cup of water on Alaska Airlines, you’ll notice it being poured out of a box, not a plastic bottle into a paper, not a plastic cup.
This week Alaska Airlines did a great thing for the environment by swapping out single-use plastic water bottles and plastic cups for Boxed Water Is Better brand cartons and recyclable paper cups in the main cabin on all its flights.
The carrier made the switch in the First Class cabin a while back, so now Alaska is laying claim to the title of the first in the industry to move completely away from plastic for its water service.
That’s a big deal because this will eliminate about 32 million plastic water bottles and 22 million plastics cups per year from Alaska flights. The 1.8 million pounds of single use plastics per year avoided is equivalent to 18 Boeing 737s. You can read more about the program and the Boxed Water is Better Brand company in the story we wrote for The Points Guy.
Called Zoom Zone and located in Terminal B between Gates 24 and 25, the 600-square foot space was created with support from Zoom (Zoom Video Communications Inc.) and has an aviation theme.
Features of the Zoom Zone include a Pin Screen, a Bird Climber, a Zoom Plane, and a Kinectic Butterfly. There’s also an Alphabet Airplane that invites kids to open airplane window shades and discover objects representing destinations.
Nature Photos at IND Airport
Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is hosting a new photography exhibition titled Indiana, Naturally through December 2021 in both the Ticketing Hall and in cases in Concourses A and B. The exhibition is part of a larger, ongoing cultural collaboration between the Indianapolis Airport Authority and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Here are a few of the images. See more here.
SFO is both an airport AND a museum. So, we always make sure to choose the longest layover we can when changing planes at SFO. Not just because we love airports, but because we also love museums. And the SFO Museum always has multiple exhibitions scattered throughout the terminals.
One of the newest exhibitions is The Victorian Papered Wall, which is on view in the International Terminal Main Hall.
Why have an exhibition about wallpaper?
From the press release:
From its inception, wallpaper imitated luxurious materials, providing a more affordable alternative to tapestries, fabrics, mural paintings, and architectural elements. Crafted in repeating rolls and pasted to walls, this decorative art has an ephemeral quality unlike any other. Wallpaper reflects the design styles popular at the time, and in the late nineteenth century during the Victorian Era (1837–1901), walls richly came to life. English “design reformers” insisted on abstract, flat patterns, opposing fashionable French three-dimensional designs. Meanwhile, the Aesthetic Movement, which burgeoned in England, emphasized artful interiors in the 1870s and ‘80s. Eclecticism prevailed—designers drew freely from world cultures and centuries past.
This exhibition features art wallpapers created by Bradbury & Bradbury, based in Benicia, CA. The company hand silkscreens hundreds of historic designs using oil-based paints. Their most complex paper, St. James, requires seventeen individually applied colors. In addition to Victorian-era patterns, the company makes wallpaper using patterns from the Art Deco era, the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. We’re hoping to find the wallpaper from our childhood home in there somewhere.
Here are more samples of the wall and ceiling papers you’ll see in six Victorian-era room sets at SFO.