Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Artwork: A 2015-16 Viewing Guide

Phoenix Airport Museum Gallery located at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Phoenix Airport Museum Gallery located at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Phoenix Airport Museum

Few people relish time spent in airports, which are so often associated with noise, crowds, and waiting in line. But Phoenix's airport boasts artwork that makes spending time there a whole lot more pleasant — if you know where to look. 

Next time your travels take you to Sky Harbor International Airport, allow some extra time to explore the items exhibited in terminals, Sky Train stations, and the rental car center.

The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Public Art Collection includes more than 900 works of contemporary art. Most are exhibited at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, although some are exhibited at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport and Phoenix Goodyear Airport. Those not on view are kept in storage.

The collection includes portable pieces, site-specific installations, and architectural enhancements. Most exhibited works are located in pre-screening areas, so people can enjoy them without passing through security. The majority of works located at Sky Harbor International Airport are available for public viewing 24 hours a day. The Airport Art Collection was purchased with Phoenix Aviation Department percent-for-art funds administered by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.

Exhibitions at Sky Harbor International Airport often feature works by some of Arizona’s most renowned and loved artists. The current lineup includes drawings by Carolyn Lavender, beaded fiber sculptures by Christy Puetz, satirical paintings by Anne Coe, and much more. Here's a guide to help you find your way to the airport’s many art offerings.

Works by Carolyn Lavender featured in "Drawing With Everything" at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Works by Carolyn Lavender featured in "Drawing With Everything" at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Phoenix Airport Museum

Sky Harbor Terminals

Terminal 2 is home to The Phoenix, a 1962 mixed media work by Paul Coze. Comprising three-panel 16-foot by 75-foot murals made with 52 different materials, it depicts early Arizona inhabitants and industries. Check out the terminal entryway and three pre-screening display cases, where you’ll find Diné (Navajo) weavings featured in the “Interwoven: Influences on a Living Art Form” exhibition.

Terminal 3 boasts Teresa Villegas’ Desert Rain terrazzo floors, and you’ll find Ken Torey’s stained glass ceiling panels in desert Southwest colors on Level 2. Also on Level 2, look for seven display cases holding works by 15 artists featured in an exhibition titled “The Art of Cloth.” These works of fiber art were designed, sewn, and fabricated based on the artists’ “experiences, imagery and ideas rather than traditional patterns.” They will be on view through February 7, 2016.

Terminal 4 is where you’ll find the Phoenix Airport Museum Gallery, which is showing works by six Arizona artists inspired by the natural world. The exhibition, titled “Creature Feature,” includes both paintings and sculpture. Take note, night owls — this gallery (located on Level 3) is only open from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. "Creature Feature" will be on view through January 3, 2016.

While you’re on Level 3, look for eight display cases filled with works by Arizona artists, which are part of an exhibition titled “Drawing With Everything.” On Level 2, you’ll find “Between Two Worlds,” an exhibition in two display cases featuring pottery by Susan Folwell, whose work reflects the influence of Santa Clara Pueblo traditions and contemporary life. "Drawing With Everything" will be on view through February 28, 2016, and "Between Two Worlds" continues through May 8, 2016. 

There's even an exhibition highlighting the airport's own history and transformation over time. "Moving Forward: 80 Years of World Class Service" features artifacts culled from the Phoenix Airport Museum's aviation history collection. Located on Terminal 4, Level 3, it continues through the summer of 2016.

The International Walkway is the site of an exhibition called “Arizona Ranchers: Photography by Scott Baxter,” which includes images of families who have been ranching in Arizona for a century of more – all captured during the course of a decade using large format cameras with black and white film.

One of two terrazzo floors designed by artist Janelle L. Stanley located at Sky Harbor International Airport.EXPAND
One of two terrazzo floors designed by artist Janelle L. Stanley located at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Phoenix Airport Museum

Sky Train Stations

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The 44th Street Station has a ground floor atrium, where you’ll find Blue Stratus, a 150-foot by 40-foot installation by Mario Madayag and Michael Parekowhai and Paul Deeb. It’s comprised of steel and 6,610 aluminum reflector panels painted with six types of blue, plus LED lights placed above to create “a slowly changing tableau of color.”

Inside this station you’ll find two terrazzo floors. Daniel Martin Diaz’s Journey Through Nature is located on the pedestrian bridge, and Fausto Fernandez’s Tailplane Patterns is located on the station platform. Diaz used ten colors to create a mandala, flowers and vines within aggregate containing recycled glass, abalone shell, and native desert stones. Fernandez used ten colors to create rhythmic geometric patterns within aggregate containing recycled crushed glass and mirror.

The East Economy Station has its own terrazzo masterpiece, Anne Coe’s Topo Magic, located on the station platform. Inspired by topographic maps she uses while hiking, Coe used eleven colors to “depict rivers, canyons, farm fields and mountains in a whimsical landscape of wiggling shapes and contours.”

The Terminal 3 Station has two terrazzo floors by Janelle L. Stanley — one located on the station platform, and another on the bridge connecting the station to the terminal. Her Haak’u/Acoma Connection was inspired by traditional Haak’u/Acoma pottery and a “treasured family turquoise brooch.” Her Diné/Navajo Connection references traditional basketry and weaving forms.

The Terminal 4 Station is home to a pair of Daniel Mayer works. His Variable Order terrazzo floor is located on the station platform, and his Trace Elements stained glass murals are located on the pedestrian bridge. His eight-color floor includes recycled crushed mirror, plus blue and clear glass. Inspired by letterpress printing, Mayer embedded 1,000 metal letters with a lower-case Garamond italic typeface – and included the two hand-written phrases: “timeless is the open” and “limitless is the open.” Each of two 115-foot by 9-foot murals consists of 28 laminated glass panels with a leaf motif.

Dangos by Jun Kaneko exhibited in the Rental Car Center at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Dangos by Jun Kaneko exhibited in the Rental Car Center at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Phoenix Airport Museum

Phoenix Rental Car Center
The rental car center features 82 pieces, which means you’ll have to arm wrestle your travel-mate to decide who gets to dig all the artwork and who has to brave the rental car line. Most impressive is Ed Carpenter’s Crosstitch, a dichroic glass installation that plays off natural light to create an ever-changing wash of colors and patterns. Also look for five large scale ceramic works by Jun Kaneko. His Dangos reference the shape of Japanese dumplings.

Four hallways off the center’s lobby contain works by several artists. Most depict natural subjects: creek, wildflowers, trees, wash, leaves, bird, canyon, and more. About half these works are linoleum cut prints by Andy Chuka. Other mediums include tin collage, oil on paper, woodcut print, digital photographic print, monoprint intaglio collage, watercolor, oil on board and pictorial weaving.

For more information on the Airport Art Collection and information about submitting your work for consideration, visit skyharbor.com/museum

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