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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Getting Cultured with Airport Artwork

You all know by now that I love the airport. I find it fun and as part of my next adventure. I research the food and activities at each one I'll be visiting like I do the rest of my trip. Sometimes you get stuck at an airport for longer than you expect. Things happen: flights get cancelled or delayed. Flights get missed. You can't control everything in life. Of course, I've once purposely chose a four-hour layover in DFW, because it was the best way to get to my destination and I enjoy what DFW has to offer. 


When you find yourself with some extra time on your hands before your flight, instead of sitting at the gate or bar grumbling about how you hate flying, why not take advantage of what's available to you? All airports have some sort of art program. Many even have their own galleries for travelers to pop into. They know that people have places to go and may not have time to visit a stationary location, so they sprinkle artwork throughout the airport, so everyone can enjoy a bit of culture as they run from gate to gate.

Las Vegas' McCarran airport has an aviation museum before security. It's not big and it doesn't even have walls. It's just set up in the middle of the aisle, so you can view pieces of aviation history and learn a bit more about how flight travel has evolved. I was thrilled to find that they also have a mini museum after security so travelers can still get a bit-size version of history. They have informational plaques as well as tiny exhibits set up around columns. Cute, right? I also like that it's right next to the children's play area, so you can peruse while the kids get out their energy.

Phoenix has tons of artwork around the airport with signs letting you know you can find more at the gallery in the terminal. Obviously, they hope that this will entice people into visiting if they have time. I wish I did, but I was running to catch my flight after finally making it though the long security line and only had time to snap this pic.

Salt Lake City is full of historical stuff, and their airport wants to extend the museum feel with local artists' work along the walls everywhere you look. This gallery wall was in the hallway between terminals and the moving walkways. 

Portland loves their locals and all the awesome work they do. Between photography, sculpture and paintings, every inch of bare wall has been covered with something interesting to look at. I'm a bit surprised that we don't have a mini museum/gallery yet, perhaps an offshoot of OMSI or Portland Art Museum, but we don't really have extra space with all the dining and shopping. I won't stop hoping, as we finally got food carts into the terminals as well as a little version of our Hollywood Theater that will show short films for those that have 15-20 minutes to spare.

I'm not sure why I had to fly through Denver to get to Phoenix from Portland, but I did, and they had some large art pieces, including this awesome plane. It's great, because you can't miss it, meaning everyone has the chance to admire it and appreciate the finer details when walking through the terminal. 


When we flew into Washington DC a few years ago, they had this fun exhibit down by baggage claim that was on loan from the local design school. It featured a ton of textiles, from clothing to furniture and wallpaper. Even though I was quickly on my way to get my rental car, I had time to stop and check out some of the pieces that were on display.

Here's another fun piece that was at Portland last time I was flying out. There were several marine-centric "sculptures" in the middle of the walkway, which was pretty fun to check out as we were headed to our gate.


Las Vegas even has cool stuff to see if you are arriving for your vacation. The monorail dumps you out at this gorgeous underground station that always has different artwork displayed. It's really colorful and fun.

Next time you're flying, slow down and take the time to appreciate some of the artwork that's on display for you. Of course, if you have a long layover, you can really just wander and get more of a feel for the city you're in. It's like being in a museum, just with a lot of people who have someplace else to be. You also get some exercise by walking the terminal, so you can stretch your legs before you have to sit one the plane for hours.

Do you make time to enjoy the art when you visit the airport?
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