Arts in the Airport
music are two important ways to showcase a city’s unique ambiance, particularly
in public structures. The use of the arts in a public setting has been shown to
create an improved public environment through the enhancement of spaces, with
the sights and sounds of quality artists and musicians that are unique in their
field and their presentation. Today many cities, including New Orleans, are
utilizing the arts in the "public realm” to creatively engage a community’s
sense of ‘place’. As an entity of the City of New Orleans, Louis Armstrong New
Orleans International Airport is pleased to be one of the city’s showcases for
the arts. Over the years, Armstrong International Airport has acquired a
diverse art collection that is on permanent display in the terminal. Our
distinct Armstrong Art Collection speaks to the richness of the Louisiana
culture created by artists currently living and working in Louisiana and the
collection includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles and mixed
media. The overall assemblage is valued at nearly $1 million and is located
both pre and post security so passengers and visitors alike may enjoy viewing
while waiting for departures or arrivals. Many of the artworks were selected
with assistance from the Arts Council of New Orleans.
Orleans Aviation Board began working with the Arts Council in 1990 to identify
public art that could be installed during the reconstruction of Concourse C.
Since music is the common language to convey culture, nationally recognized New
Orleans musician Ellis Marsalis improvised a musical theme for the concourse that
was digitized into a graphic format. The artists worked from this graphic
format to create a variety of architectural enhancements that range from
ceramic tile patterns to colored glass. Each artist was assigned a specific
interior area in which to develop artwork installation or structural treatment
based upon the musical theme. In addition to artwork on the concourse, an
outstanding collection of three individual exhibits of photographs and an 1898
map of New Orleans donated by the New Orleans Jazz Foundation, the Louisiana
State Museum and the William Hogan Jazz Archives at Tulane University has been
installed as well.
New Orleans Aviation Board made a decision to rebuild Concourse D and create a
new West Terminal Lobby, the Board turned once again to the local Arts Council
to help amass a permanent collection that would create a visually exciting and
positive impression on air travelers. In 1996, local artist Richard Cornelius
Thomas was commissioned by the Board to create large murals that feature a
tribute to the legends of jazz and the unique tradition of brass bands, grand
marshals and second lines.
present at Armstrong International, live and otherwise. The Airport serves as a
stage for some of the finest brass bands in the city who welcome the millions
of passengers that pass through the Airport each year. We also feature hundreds
of recordings of local and nationally known musicians played year round over
our public address system. These sounds provide a backdrop that is distinctly
New Orleans and hopefully sets the tone for what will be an experience of a
lifetime for visitors and a "welcome home” for our residents.
arts program in airports is becoming an important feature in their spaces
traveled by passengers. As you travel through airports, look around in their
busy and sometimes hectic environment. You may be surprised at the sights and
sounds placed there for your enjoyment that can change that airport from an
"any airport USA” to one that makes that city or region it resides in distinct.
The next time you are at Armstrong International, take some time to enjoy the
wonderful artwork displayed throughout the Airport. Until then, you can always
download our Armstrong Art Collection brochure from our website.