Hurry up and wait. No, not here, nor there. & don’t be late! Unless you like running in airports like me. But when you’re not running, and you’re carrying as much carry-on as you hope to get away with, or none at all because you’re feeling fancy, early-bird gets the worm. So, let’s say you’re the bird and maybe a pre-flight cocktail or three is the worm, but consider this: the worm is an array of public-art installations in the pockets of every last terminal in the labyrinth that is airport travel.
No doubt, the baggage carousels and motorized walkways are art in themselves. Combine that with the endless stimulus of new face after face and helpless eavesdropping and fleeting discomfort, amusement, misery! and we have the greatest public-art display known to life: Life.
But to those of you, after several helpings of people-watching, are not entirely full, chew over the worm – the art – the airport’s only soul-food option for crying outloud! & the truth is, you don’t have to be an early bird to get it.
Take Dallas Love Field (http://www.lovefieldartprogram.com), for example. Below Guy Bruggeman, the Art and Programming Coordinator, tells us what’s up.
Guy Bruggeman (G): I have been at Dallas Love Field for three years and prior to that I worked at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for about 6 years. I have always loved art since a child. I finally quit my job at a Fortune 500 company and got back into the “art world.” I started out as a part-time employee at DFW International Airport and built up their art program before moving over to Dallas Love Field to build up theirs. Over here I am in charge of the Art/Travelers Exhibition spaces. We currently have two rotating exhibitions that focuses on giving educational institutions an opportunity to showcase their talent. (See exhibition policy attached.) I have (2) display cases that we curate (in-house) with longer term exhibitions about the artists that have a permanent pieces at the airport. I conduct free tours and presentations about the permanent collection as well. Last year we had over 600 people tour the airport and the art program.
How many of your choices are governed by functionality vs aesthetic, or various other factors/rules?
G: The permanent collection is dictated by the City of Dallas’ Percent for Art Program managed by the Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art. http://dallasculture.org/PDFs/COD_Public_Art_Ordinance.pdf
G: Almost all of the pieces were site-specific. One of the crowd favorites is Dixie Friend Gay’s “North Texas Sunrise” it was a 2014 Americans for the Arts – Public Art Network winner.
G: It’s a bit unique; I occasionally run into people who have passed through the airport recently and some will say, “I love the artwork,” while others say, “What artwork?” For those that do happen to notice the artwork their experience is very positive. The Dixie Friend Gay piece has a very calming effect that tends to work prior to them have to go through TSA Screening. The Moss Lee Love Garden has a sculpture from a local artist, Sherry Owens. It is called “Back in a Moment” and gives some insight into why the airport is named Dallas Love Field. If you are unaware, it is named after Lieutenant Moss Lee Love, a military aviator who died during a training exercise in 1913. This was an Army Airfield that was opened in 1917. We are turning 100 years old next year!
G: I really think that they enjoy the art. It’s not often that you can go to work and see over 2.5 million dollars’ worth of art. They have taken ownership of the artwork and have become my stewards. They watch and protect the artwork as well as tell people about the artworks.
G: I attend a yearly workshop hosted by American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), the “Arts in the Airport Workshop.” Over the past 9 years the attendance has gone from the large-volume airports to mid-sized and small volume airports. There are a few airports that started the arts in the airport movement over 25 years ago but now we are seeing smaller sized volume airports joining in the movement. Many are starting exhibition programs, permanent collections and other community-engaged activities. We are all trying to be better neighbors and contribute to the customer’s experience.
G: For me, I see the next evolution of arts in the form of performing arts. We recently built a state-of-the-art stage and are building up our performances. We are reaching out to our local community members and having weekly musical performances. Many cities as well as airports have embraced the Percent for Art Program, where a percent of the overall capital budget is set aside for public art. This creates local jobs and creates a sense of place. We are the gateway to Dallas and want to show that it is a great place to live, work and visit.
- Featured image on the top: Art by Dixie Friend Gay – Photo Credit: Nathan Cox
- Photos courtesy of Dallas Love Field