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If you stop to think about it, art and travel go hand-in-hand. Both provide glimpses of other places, other perspectives, and other cultures.
In this fast paced, post-9/11 world, security screening and air travel can be stressful. For this reason, among others, more and more airports are turning to art to make the traveling experience more enjoyable.
As common as art collections in airports are becoming, the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) started building its collection in 1977, through the direction and oversight of former Airport Authority Board member and chair of the Airport Arts Subcommittee, Joseph Rosenblatt.
SLC’s collection boasts several local artists, different mediums and a vast array of landscape art that depicts Utah’s iconic beauty.
Some of the new state-of-the-art installations at SLC include:
The Canyon, by artist Gordon Huether.Taking inspiration from the surrounding landscape, The Canyon inspires passengers through an indoor canyon. The installation represents the vast canyons of Utah and creates a sense of place for the airport. The 400 ft. long by 22 ft. tall tensile membrane fins are comprised of aluminum tubing and composite fabric.
The Falls, by artist Gordon Huether. Hung in the escalator well of The New SLC Terminal is the 65-foot tall installation. Like The Canyon, this installation is inspired by Utah’s natural beauty and resembles the waterfalls dispersed among the state’s canyon landscapes. Cascading roughly six stories from the terminal ceiling to the floor, the suspended sculpture makes use of the location’s natural light. The sculpture partners colorful, light-sensitive dichroic glass panels with light refracting glass rods to create ever-changing colors and patterns on adjacent surfaces.
Column Plates and Benches, by artist Gordon Huether. The sculpturally integrated Column Plates and Benches are located in the Terminal and create a visual distinction as well as functional seating. Echoing the sculptural forms found in a canyon, the columns provide interest and induce a sense of wonder, while maintaining the corridor view. Benches are placed throughout the area. Both installations are made of composite materials and function as seating as well as sculptural elements.
Whimsy Walls - The work of 18 local and national artists was selected for The New SLC Whimsy Wall art project. The large-scale artwork–are unique vinyl wall wraps that were created from original artwork and installed in the airport’s 24 restrooms post-security. The artwork is unique and one-of-a-kind and intended to inspire and immersive and engaging experience for travelers. Artists were encouraged to submit work that reflects the culture, community, landscape and spirit of Utah.
Mid-Concourse Tunnel Murals, by local artist Traci O’Very Covey and Texas-based DAAS. Each artist painted two, 144 ft. murals in the Mid-Concourse Tunnel that bring Utah’s four seasons to life. O’Very Covey created the summer and fall murals, while DAAS created the winter and spring murals. Covey’s summer mural portrays majestic mountain canyons, vast open spaces and red rock deserts of Utah. Her autumn mural portrays the season with various flora and fauna unique to Utah in the warm tones of fall. DAAS’s winter mural focuses on highlighting the diverse topography of Utah through imagery of valleys, cliffs and canyons, drawing the view from night into day across a landscape saturated in iridescent snow flurries and rays of light breaking through the spaces between, while his spring mural highlights wildflowers and perennials commonly found throughout Utah.
Near Distance by Soonju Kwon, Reihaneh Noori and Hannah Vaughn. The Salt Lake City-based artist team designed, fabricated and installed this unique and original work of art in the TSA security checkpoint exit. The piece speaks to the spirit, culture, people and landscape of Utah. Near Distance was fabricated out of plaster, Great Salt Lake salt, charcoal and cast copper alloy.
You are Here by artist Jenkyn Powell. You are Here, a leaded glass wall created by Jenkyn A. Powell, is an abstraction based on a cellular map of molecular biological process that occur in living cells. These biological pathways include the Krebs Cycle, glycolysis and others that convert matter into energy on a cellular level in life. This piece was originally located in the former airport’s International Terminal. The piece was refurbished and re-located to the west wall of The Gateway, where the evening sun illuminates the piece.
Flying Machines by artist Dennis Smith. The Flying Machines are large, whimsical mobiles that were originally displayed in the previous airport. The pieces underwent a restoration at the artist’s studio prior to being re-located to The Gateway.