On June 4, Delta Airlines’ Terminal C finally opened to the public at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Featuring installations by artists Fred Wilson, Aliza Nisenbaum, Virginia Overton, Ronny Quevedo, Rashid Johnson, and Mariam Ghani, the terminal is boasting a $12 million USD Art Initiative.
However, there are even bigger plans for this new terminal, totaling $4 billion USD. The plan is to have 9 gates, unique amenities to make for a comfortable passenger experience, and its very own security checkpoint. This is why as part of Delta’s efforts to make this terminal more experiential and enticing, the airline worked with the Queens Museum and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the art initiative that includes these large-scale installations.
Since all the artists selected are based in New York, they were all presenting their own interpretation of the city’s eclectic mix of cultures. In a way, all the works center on what it means to live in New York. One of these installations is Johnson’s 15′ wide and 45′ tall mosaic that synthesizes the emotions that surround living in the city.
Having the Queens Museum involved in the process was very important, especially because it contributed to the transformation of the new Terminal C into a premier cultural destination by commissioning long-term pieces from an extraordinary roster of New York-based artists.
“The Worlds We Speak” by artist Mariam Ghani is located in the baggage claim area. The Endangered Language Alliance and the most recent census data were used to represent the over 700 languages and dialects spoken in New York’s tri-state area. The artist was inspired by the numerous languages spoken and used handmade ceramic tiles to illustrate this linguistic diversity.
Additionally, one can find gem-shaped lamps by Overton that hang from the ceiling at various heights in the hallways for arrivals and departures. They are made with metal armatures and repurposed security glass that was once used in city skylights and obtained from salvage yards.
“Pacha Cosmopolitanism Overtime,” a full-size hardwood gym floor that the artist Ronny Quevedo created from scratch, is displayed on one of the walls. The artwork makes reference to the value of sports, especially soccer, to immigrant communities. It is layered with abstract lines in colored paint and a constellation of stars made of silver and gold leaf.
This art initiative definitely makes us want to fly out of the new terminal at LaGuardia.
In related news, here are POC funding opportunities and grants for artists this summer. And if you plan on flying, make sure you have one of these elite airline travel cards.
Photos via Aliza Nisenbaum, Justin Kaneps for The New York Times