Electronic artist

High-flying ART | Fort Myers Florida Weekly


Airports display paintings, sculptures and photographs to enhance the experience of travelers.

WHETHER YOU FLY FROM RSW to ORD or PBI to JFK, getting to your destination inevitably involves a lot of waiting. First of all, it is advisable to arrive two hours before the departure time. Then you wait to check in your luggage, wait to go through security, wait for your flight to be called, wait to board.

Maybe when you arrive at another airport you will have to wait for a connecting flight. All of this translates into spending a lot of time at an airport. “If you’re flying to Atlanta or Charlottesville, you’ll spend more time at our airport than on the plane,” says Victoria Moreland, director of communications and marketing for Southwest Florida International Airport to Fort Myers. “This customer experience is ours.

“We need to ensure that the airport reflects the best Southwest Florida has to offer. So it makes sense to increase this experience. The airport is the first thing you see when you arrive and the last thing you see before you return home. This is your first impression and your last impression.


Mary Lundburg’s “Milky Way Turtle” hangs at the Punta Gorda airport. COURTESY PHOTO

Thus, airports in Florida, as well as airports across the country and around the world, integrate art into their surroundings.

For example, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has a site-specific piece of art: a mile-long kinetic light sculpture by Michael Hayden titled “Sky’s the Limit”. The 1987 room, which incorporates neon lighting, mirrors and electronic music, is located in the tunnel connecting United Airlines Lobby B and Lobby C. The art makes the tunnel trip an artistic experience rather than a dreary and claustrophobic experience. It cost $ 1,200,000 at the time.

Our regional airports don’t have art of this magnitude, but they do incorporate art to make travel more enjoyable.

“We are experts in airports and the transportation industry, but we are not experts in art,” says Moreland. So she works with the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers, which organizes their temporary exhibitions, and with the Lee County School District, which provides artwork for elementary, high school and high school students.

“Lady Red” by Tina Weida at the Punta Gorda airport. COURTESY PHOTO

“It’s a really wonderful partnership for Lee County, between the airport and the art,” she says. “Through their relationships with local artists and local schools, we are able to showcase more local artists and the local art scene. And that’s important to us.

“Airports are locally owned and operated.

We want Southwest Florida International Airport to reflect our region and our community. What better way to do this than to have artwork made by local artists and schools? “

No work of art is on permanent display and is not available for sale through the Alliance.

“People love to have their art at the airport; their name is there, ”says Moreland. “The children go out (to see their work on display), the parents go out to see it, the grandparents. We put art in our hallways from hall B to D. It’s pre-security. If you’re there waiting, you’re looking at the art.

Art at Palm Beach International Airport includes photographs, paintings and sculptures.  COURTESY PHOTO

Art at Palm Beach International Airport includes photographs, paintings and sculptures. COURTESY PHOTO

The children’s exhibits included earlier themes from New Frontiers, Oh the Places You’ll Go, and Wild Things.

Perhaps the most famous artwork the airport has on display is Louise Nevelson’s ‘Dawn’s Forest’, which was on loan from the Baker Museum of Art (formerly the Naples Museum of Art.) An abstract sculpture by a forest, it was the most complex and the most complex of the artist. larger piece, completed at the end of its life.

“It was amazing,” says Moreland. “We put it in the atrium for a year. It took a long time on the terminal!

None of the art has been controversial.

“We want art in an airport to be a conversation, not controversial,” she says. “We don’t want vanilla, we don’t want nature. We don’t want bland. I want something conversational. It’s colorful, and something that’s representative of what we have here in Southwest Florida.

Alan Maltz has works like

Alan Maltz has works like “Painted Light” hung at RSW Airport in Fort Myers. COURTESY PHOTO

“You might not like everything. It’s in the eyes of the beholder.

Punta Gorda Airport

Punta Gorda Airport is small – only one terminal – so like a tiny house or apartment, there isn’t much room for art.

But the airport is committed to presenting works of art, in collaboration with Charlotte Arts and Humanities, which organizes their exhibitions. They are all temporary and do not cost the airport.

They have art, says Kaley Miller, head of marketing and communications at the Punta Gorda airport, “because it’s a great partnership with the arts community. The other reason is that it helps beautify our airport and give people something inspiring to watch, ”she says. “And in some cases, they lead to sales for the artists.”

The current exhibition currently features around 10 paintings by Larry Palmer.

Ms. Miller describes her work as describing “the natural environment: birds, trees and wildlife.”

RSW hangs artwork that the Alliance for the Arts of Fort Myers is hosting, with artwork from elementary, high school and high school students, above.  COURTESY PHOTO

RSW hangs artwork that the Alliance for the Arts of Fort Myers is hosting, with artwork from elementary, high school and high school students, above. COURTESY PHOTO

Also on display are photographs of Tina Weida, who manipulates images on canvas, and of Mary Lundburg, whose medium is photography on metal. Ms. Lindburg’s piece has been on display for some time; it’s a favorite of Mrs. Miller and airport patrons.

“It’s called ‘the Milky Way turtle,'” she said. “It shows a sea turtle on a beach, and it looks like you can see the Milky Way in the sky above it. It’s a baby sea turtle and the night sky. It’s just really cool. .

“I choose from our community to give (local artists) exposure and opportunities,” says Leigha Murray, who wears several hats. She is an Art Gallery Curator, Arts Program Coordinator and Arts Director at Charlotte Arts & Humanities. “It’s a way for people to get to know our community. They fly into Punta Gorda from everywhere; they can see our history and our community artists and what is important to us and how we portray the region. I have a really good idea of ​​what people like and what is important.

She sees the relationship between the artists and the airport and Charlotte Arts & Humanities as a “win-win-win situation.

“I bring people together,” she says. ” Everybody is happy. There is never anything controversial. It is an appropriate art which portrays our region so well; that’s why everyone is so happy with art.

Palm Beach International Airport

Palm Beach International Airport is “known to be easy and convenient, a less stressful experience for passengers,” says Lacy Larson, director of airport marketing and communications for the Palm Beach County Airports Department.

And they have the rewards to prove it.

In 2020, it was named seventh best airport in the world and third best airport in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. And in the same year, it was named ninth best domestic airport by Travel & Leisure magazine, also chosen by readers. And JD Power ranked it second in its North American Airport Satisfaction Survey.

“We think art plays a role in this,” says Larson. “We see it as part of the experience. And as we continue to grow and meet the needs and wants of passengers, we want to continue to incorporate art into these plans. “

When the airport opened in 1988, a permanent art collection was chosen by an arts committee and more than three dozen pieces were acquired.

This art, which includes photographs, paintings and sculptures, including mobiles, is distributed throughout the three halls of the airport, both before and after security. There’s even a sculpture in the pond on the entrance road, she says.

“We have people commenting on the arts, how it makes them feel a sense of belonging, how it creates a calm environment for them,” says Larson.

Unfortunately, the work is only visible at the airport; none of this is online.

The works are not architecturally integrated at the airport, as they are at Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale International Airport or other airports across the country, says Elayna Toby Singer, administrator of Palm Beach County Art in Public Places.

Mrs. Larson and Mrs. Singer determine the themes of the temporary art. Ms. Singer launches a call for artists and manages the gallery, choosing the works to be presented there.

The ephemeral work is hung in the gallery space located before security on level 2 of the terminal, and presents 15 artists.

The gallery’s work is for sale, and many pieces have sold recently, Ms. Larson says.

“We’re building in this area and we’re getting ready to make art in early fall,” she says.

“The work is done by artists who inhabit the Palm Beaches,” says Ms. Singer, and includes nationally recognized artists.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors pass through the airport each year, she said.

“It’s a starting point. On the other hand, they are coming. The gallery and the permanent collection offer an intimate-type sensibility and feel.

The works of art, she says, show how palm beaches inspire art.

“They come to our airport and receive an artistic welcome,” she says. |


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