Runway Renaissance

What I normally think at an airport: Go, go, get out of my way, I'm in a hurry, parking took 30 minutes, I'm a mile from my terminal, I'm late to check in at the airline desk, security will take forever, they're going to make me take my shoes off to be X-rayed again, where is my drivers license, did I forget my ticket, I need to stop at the gift shop to buy gum, is my carry-on too big, did I take the batteries out of my electric toothbrush, I didn't pack enough underwear, did I leave enough food for the cats, I'll never get a window seat now, I'll be stuck between two people or--oh, jeez--next to a kid, I hope they serve pretzels instead of peanuts and--once in O'Hare International Airport--why is there a crazy-eyed, hobo-looking guy playing Duran Duran covers on a harmonica in the concourse?

Not once have I thought, "Oh! Pretty art!" There is no time for art, pretty or ugly, when I have a flight to catch. There's barely any time for breathing. On second thought, maybe my panicked expression is the reason why I always, always get pulled from the security line to have my shoes X-rayed.

Perhaps those worldly travelers--the ones with calm expressions, black rolling suitcases and ticket-and-passport lanyards, who know where to park and which escalator to take and bypass the ticket counter to use those intimidating ticket kiosks--have noticed the art in airports. Two new exhibits in Fort Worth are for them, but they're also for travelers like us so we can enjoy some airport art without actually being in an airport and having a panic attack.

Journeys: Public + Private highlights Tarrant County and Dallas County artists whose works will adorn D/FW International Airport's new Terminal D, which opens in July and will feature terrazzo floor art, mural wall art, hanging art and medallions in the walkway floors. The Fort Worth Community Art Center's exhibit, which is already open, includes works by artists, including Ted Kincaid, Pamela Nelson, Billy Hassell and Viola Delgado, who designed the 20-foot medallions that will be found throughout Terminal D. This exhibit includes full-scale renderings of the medallions and samples of some of the mosaics from the medallions. The medallions use the same format and same media, but have different subject matter and very different styles. Hassell's medallion, "Early Morning Flight," features a mockingbird against a blue background surrounded by green leaves and purple berries. Ed and Linda Blackburn's medallion pays homage to Casablanca and its pivotal scene in which Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman say farewell at an airport.

The other Journeys: Public + Private exhibit opens Saturday at William Campbell Contemporary with 10 artists, including Benito Huerta, Dan and Dennis Blagg, Nancy Lamb and Anita Blayton, showing examples of their non-D/FW terminal work--which is, in some cases, very different from their airport work. Lamb's airport terrazzo, nicknamed "the largest hot pink floor in the world," features birds and clocks set to different time zones tumbling across a fuchsia background. Her gallery works start with photographs taken from a bird's-eye view and result in paintings. Airport and gallery both have birds and bright colors, but the similarities end there. Hot pink may not inspire serenity in a hectic travel day, but it's guaranteed to catch the eye for a moment--and maybe distract someone from worrying about whether he or she locked the front door.

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Shannon Sutlief

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