By Mark Chesnut
Long layovers and delayed flights don’t have to mean hours of boredom. Increasingly, airports large and small are using public space to exhibit original artwork and historical displays. So rather than stopping at yet another Cinnabon, consider checking out some of the latest exhibits.
The Art Program at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport commissions artists to create site-specific artwork. Don’t miss “Recycle Runway,” a collection of 18 couture fashions made from repurposed trash by artist and environmental educator Nancy Judd (including a very cool flight attendant uniform, “The Environmental Stewardess,” with a cape made from discarded safety cards and pages from the Delta Air Lines Sky Magazine.)
Exhibits at DIA include the work of Denver-based artist Brianna Martray, who has created an appropriately flight-related visual element with “Shadow Happy,” a collection of 10,000 tiny origami birds folded from pages of a novel she wrote. The creatures hang over the pedestrian bridge to the A Gates.
The Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum, which highlights the history of life in the skies over southern Nevada, is located on a walkway above the baggage claim area at McCarran International Airport. But you’ll also find some very retro-cool exhibits on the concourses too, including a vintage, canary-yellow flight attendant uniform from Hughes Airwest, the long-defunct airline owned by Howard Hughes.
Whether you lean more toward spirits, fashion or history, you’ll find something to admire at Philadelphia International Airport, where current exhibits include a rather whimsical beer bottle clock, a retrospective of the famed Tuskegee Airmen and sculptural footwear by Philly-based Sharon Taffet.
Like the city it serves, the SFO Museum celebrates diversity, with rotating exhibits of decorative arts, aviation and pop culture among the many themes represented. Among the current attractions is “Revolutions per Minute: The Evolution of the Record,” on display through March 2012 in Terminal 2.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America.