Sunday, September 9, 2012

Flying Carpets at the Airport

I dropped in on the Tucson International Airport (TIA) today to check out the current art rotation as well as snap a few pics of some of the permanent installations.  I really like "Another Way to Fly", a set of 30 glass flying carpets ascending in a vortex.  This work is by Tucson artist Tom Philabaum.

The current rotating art exhibit down by the Terminal A luggage carousals includes a photographic exhibit "Blooms & Bugs" as well as paintings and sculptures featuring artists from the Tucson Mountain Artists Collective.

"Butterfly Spirit" by Ellen Sidor

"Portrait of Marion DeGrazia" by Ursela Gurau
"Portrait of Ted DeGrazia" by Ursela Gurau
You might want to click this one to get a bigger image.  Those are paint brushes in famed local artist Ted DeGrazia's head.

You may recognize the Pegasus from an evening picture of it that I posted earlier this year.

The upper link gallery area currently features laser etched aluminum sunset/landscape art by Lynn Rae Lowe.

"Angel with X-Ray Eyes" (2001) by Rose Johnson (left) and "Walking on Lightning" (1988) by Charlotte Bender
"Angel with X-Ray Eyes" (2001) by Rose Johnson
My picture doesn't do it justice, but this large painting was really nice.
"Illusion of the Familiar" (1988) by Gail Marcus Orlen and "Moving" (1990) by Gail Marcus Orlen

So that's a sampling of some of the cool art currently at the Tucson International Airport.  I'll repeat my past recommendation that there is some really good art worth seeing at the airport, both in the permanent and rotating featured artists exhibits (remember the now gone, but very cool cardboard guitars I posted pics of earlier in the year?).

I'm guessing that far too many people miss out on the current art, even if they are at the airport!  

If you're going to the airport anyway, try allowing a little extra time to wander around the upstairs and downstairs terminals.  Not flying?  Not picking anyone up?   Well you can still go, just like I did today, since most of the art is in the public area and not past the security checkpoints.  And it will only cost you 2 or 3 dollars to park.  Not a bad deal at all.

Here's what to do if you just want to visit for an hour or so...   Drive to Tucson International Airport.  As you approach the airport follow the signs for hourly parking.

The hourly parking lot, very close to the terminals, is currently $1 per 30 minutes.  Depending on the art on display and your interest in it, you might want to allow an hour to an hour and a half to view what's on display in the downstairs and upstairs terminals.

push button, grab ticket

there is usually parking pretty close to the terminal

I'd recommend starting at the Terminal A luggage and traveler reception area (left above), then heading left (still inside terminal) up the moving sidewalks to the second level, Pegasus horse, and then across both terminals on the the second level to view more art, the glass flying carpets (in the center area above), and then back down to the luggage pickup level.

You can grab a coffee at Ike's coffee at ground level in Terminal B if you want something to drink.  The airport is not that large, so its pretty pleasant wandering around.   On your way in or out, don't forget to check out the natural art (below) between the terminals and parking lot.

Once you return to your car, head out and pay based on how long you stayed.  Couldn't be simpler.

So, just to illustrate my point, today I went to view art at the airport, took pictures, did NOT see everything, stayed a little under an hour, and got out for a total of $2.00.  They are making a really good art effort here.

Here is the TIA Art in the Airport brochure.  A list of art exhibits currently showing at any particular time can be found here.  Enjoy!

To view all my posts regarding TIA Art in the Airport, click here.


  1. A free art show at the airport and a really comprehensive one at that. That's a new one for me Warren, what a wonderful way to spend time when you're waiting to pick someone up, or not as you say, it's definitely worth a visit in it's own right!

    1. They do a great job of continuing to add to their permanent collection while also providing temporary exhibits to showcase local artists, professionals and otherwise. The exhibits have a fresher feel here -- many of the airports that I've traveled through have some art present, but it often seems institutionalized and a bit stale compared to the TIA art. I think whoever is behind the TIA art program deserves a lot of kudos.

  2. What a sleek, neat airport terminal. But where are all the passengers?

    1. Bruce, they are there but a lot just travel pretty direct routes from their cars to their check-in, gates, and baggage collection. I imagine most passengers see some of the art but few see all of it unless they explore. I was also there midday on a Saturday which isn't a particularly busy time.

  3. I'm laughing Warren. That is such a great idea. Making it a day at the airport! I have always love Tucson art....not so much those stone sculpture plaque thingys....but everything else like the Pegasus and magic carpets are cool. That airport is turning into something special and I'm glad because the neighborhood around it needs some TLC:) Thanks for showing the art around town. I love how we live in the same town but have different takes on Tucson. Best place to call home.

    1. thanks -- yes there sure is a lot to see and experience in Tucson!

  4. A beautiful article and a great resource for art lovers who may not get to Tucson! Cheers~cb

    1. dear warren,
      i am publishing an article on tom philabaum and i would like to add your photograph of the flying carpets at tucson air port. please give permission for cost free publishing with credit details and complimentary issues after publishing.
      wolfgang schmölders


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