Art in airports

At PHL Airport: a collection of collections

The exhibition program at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is offering an exhibition featuring a wonderful collection of collections.

Personal Collection – Private Obsessions features an assortment of private collections that are borrowed from residents of the Greater Philadelphia area and from employees at Philadelphia International Airport.

Passengers traveling through PHL between now and May 2024 will see some collections representing nostalgic objects, such as handbags, sewing thimbles, antique glass, airline silverware, and John F. Kennedy ephemera.

Other collections feature more familiar objects from popular culture—ice cream scoops, bobbleheads, bottle caps, Funko Pop! figures, travel magnets, and Philadelphia Eagles hats.

The exhibit notes point out that while the activity of collecting is a universal experience, each collection is as personal and unique as each object and often represents a specific remembrance or story.

“This is the 4th exhibition of collections that we have presented over the past 25 years of the exhibitions program,” said Leah Douglas, PHL’s Director of Guest Experience. “The current installation is by far the most extensive one to date and it is proving to be a big hit with our guests and employees,” she said.

Personal Collections – Private Obsessions is on view at Philadelphia International Airport through May 2024 and is located between Terminals C and D accessible to ticketed passengers.

What do you collect?

It seems everyone collects something. Or many things. Please share a note about your collections in the comments section below.

Queen Charlotte returns to Charlotte Douglas Int’l AIrport

Charlotte Douglas Int’l Airport welcomes back Queen Charlotte

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is hard at work on Destination CLT, the airport’s $4 billion capital investment program.

And the Terminal Lobby Expansion (TLE) is a $608 million piece of that project.

The west side of the TLE opened in July, 2022. And now the east side of that section is set to open at the end of October.

This section delivers about 90,000 square feet of new space, access to the east subterranean walkway, and TSA’s Checkpoint 1, with eight screening lanes. .

Travelers through this new east side lobby area will also find large windows, terrazo flooring, bright blue tile frames for the entrances and exits, and new sculptures and murals.

Pasengers will also see an old friend.

While construction has been underway, the airport’s statue of Queen Charlotte was moved out the way and then taken offsite for a restoration and a repatina.

Now she’s back.

Last week, airport officials unveiled the refreshed 3,000-pound, 15-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Queen Charlotte, back on top of a 30-foot tall base.

The Queen Charlotte statue is now in the center of the Queen’s Court, the name for the Terminal Lobby Expansion space. Queen’s Court is also home to Queen Charlotte’s Kitchen. This is CLT’s first pre-security sit-down dining option, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as wine, beer and cocktails.

How did the Queen Charlotte get to CLT?

In the late 1980’s a local group put up $250,000 to commission an airport sculpture to symbolize the city and greet CLT passengers.

Washington, D.C., artist Raymond Kaskey won the commission and his statue of Queen Charlotte was dedicated on Sept. 18, 1990.

For many years the statue stood on a fountain in an outdoor plaza between CLT’s hourly parkng decks. She’s been been moved around and taken off site for several years to accomodate airport construction.

Here’s a video of Raymond Kaskey talking about the getting the initial commission for the project and creating the sculpture.

(All photos courtesy CLT)

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

New artwork to greet passengers at Salt Lake City Int’l Airport

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) already has several large-scale artworks by artist Gordon Huether, including the 400-foot Canyon (above).

Coming soon: the completion of his 90-foot outdoor art piece echoing the mountain peaks for which Utah is famous.

SFO Airport is celebrating Dia de Los Muertos

San Fransisco International Airport (SFO) is celebrating Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) with an altar, a mural, and live cultural performances through November 7 in Harvey Milk Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

In Harvey Milk Terminal 1, look for the “Tree of Life” altar created in partnership with the Mission Center for Cultural Arts, and feel free to add the names of your loved ones to the altar.

In Terminal 2, artist Adrian Arias will paint a mural titled “Ancestral Hummingbird with Moon,” influenced by his Peruvian background.

Pittsburgh International Airport’s new terminal progressing nicely

Aliens at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport?

A new exhibition from the Phoenix Airport Museum at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is inspired by a potato-shaped, metal-rich asteroid named Psyche that sits between Mars and Jupiter.

On October 12, 2023, NASA plans to launch a spacecraft of the same name on a mission to Psyche.

The Psyche spacecraft should arrive at the Psyche asteroid sometime in 2029 and then orbit it for at least 26 months.

Courtesy NASA

Through early 2024, the Phoenix Airport Museum is presenting an exhibition inspired by the Psyche mission.

Psyche: Mission to a Metal World, presents a diverse range of artwork by students involved in Arizona State University’s Psyche-Inspired internship program.

Each year, the program accepts 16 undergraduate students from any university in the U.S. And through creative works, the students interpret the mission’s data, predict outcomes, and even develop science-fiction-based scenarios.

This new exhibit includes paintings, sculptures, animations, and more from the Psyche Inspired program.

Highlights include an animated, stop-motion “interview” with the Psyche satellite, a 6-foot-tall personified “asteroid robot” and vivid illustrations anticipating the asteroid’s surface. Visitors can also learn fun facts about Psyche and the NASA mission to visit it.

Look for this out-of-this-world exhibition, on display at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Terminal 3, level 2 near the security checkpoint through early 2024.

Exhibit images courtesy Phoenix Airport Museum

Stuck at the Airport: Art at Albany Int’l Airport

(Artist: Sharon Bates)

Art – and a smartly curated art program – can turn a long wait at an airport into a rewarding cultural adventure.

And the team at New York’s Albany International Airport (ALB) caught onto that fact early on.

The airport created an Art & Culture Program back in 1998 when only a handful of other airports were presenting artwork.

And now, 25 years later, travelers at Albany International Airport can rely on being able to spend time in the airport enjoying permanent art installations, great temporary exhibitions, and exhibit cases showcasing treasures from area museums and cultural organizations.

(Adirondack Folk School exhibit cases at ALB)

The Stuck at the Airport art review team is looking forward to seeing the current exhibition in ALB’s Concourse A, titled Souvenir, in part because it features work by Sharon Bates, the founding director of Albany International Airport’s Art & Culture Program.

The Souvenir exhibit features artwork submitted to the participatory magazine, Cut Me Up, and Bates’ contribution was a series of miniature versions of some of her most memorable installations at ALB.

We hope she has made some extras, so we can take home some souvenirs.