Tuscon International Airport

New solar sculpture at Tucson International Airport

Art at airports.

It’s not essential to operations, but airport art can make a big difference in a traveler’s day. That’s why is always nice to see announcements of newly installed work.

This week Tuscon International Airport unveiled “Spirit of Southern Arizona,” an 18-foot-high commemoration of Arizona’s Centennial created as an artistic and scientific link between the region’s historic past and its technological future.

Here’s the description of the art work:

Six circular medallions encircle the sculpture’s base, representing southern Arizona’s past and present through images such as Tucson’s first airplane flight in 1910, a Tohono O’odham woman harvesting saguaro fruit and the University of Arizona’s radio telescope at Kitt Peak. Taking off from this cultural foundation is a futuristic airplane that leaves a sparkling contrail behind as it climbs into Arizona’s sky en route to the next 100 years of progress.

The solar aspect of the sculpture involves photovoltaic solar panel collectors which power the light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that create a changing display of colored lights and patterns at night.

Lead Artist Dr. Stephen Fairfield (Fairfield Enterprises) collaborated with Electrical Engineer Dr. Patrick Marcus (Marcus Engineering) and Emily Taylor (Emily Taylor Design) on the work, which now stands in a high-traffic spot, outside the rental car facility, adjacent to the exit lanes for the terminal roadway loop.

Tucson International Airport has loads of other art throughout the terminals, including permanent work and temporary exhibitions. Take a look at some of the art at Tucson airport here or here.