© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

KCI Terminal A Closing, But Public Art Remains, For Now

At Kansas City International Airport, Air Canada, US Airways and United are moving to Terminal C, and Terminal A is expected to close on Jan. 9, 2014. But what does this mean for the public artwork — inside and outside the terminal?

In 2004, the airport completed $258 million in renovations to all three terminals. Due to the city's one percent for art program, one percent of the cost of construction and renovation paid for the creation and installation of public art.

"The art in Terminal A comprises the terrazzo floor and the artworks in the three parking garage stair towers," wrote public art administrator Porter Arneill in an email. "Given that they are site-specific, there are no immediate plans to move them."

The design for Polarities, the blue terrazzo floors created by New York City-based artists Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, was altered, in part, by a former city council member who argued that the arrows on the floor, included in the original proposal, would be confusing. Instead, the artist team created "a collection of overlapping systems created by brass plus and minus symbols, suggesting the infinite depth of space and images which create a sense of groundlessness, of suspense, of flight, of freedom."

The other public artworks at Terminal A, all by Kansas City-based artists, can be viewed both inside and outside the three stair towers, such as Christian Mann’s Chandelabras, crafted from machinery parts and steel cables with colored neon lights; STRETCH’s steel and glass works; and JamesWoodfill's rotating light fixtures called DEUCE, featured in Americans for the Arts Public Art Network’s annual "Year in Review."

Woodfill, an assistant professor of painting at the Kansas City Art Institute, wrote this about DEUCE in an email: "If public art is working correctly, I believe that it should ultimately help expand our sense of normalcy, producing a richer set of expectations and aspirations for a community. I am hopeful that in some small way DEUCE was able to help in this process."

Discussions continue about a new single terminal at KCI to be sited where Terminal A is located now. It's estimated to cost $1.2 billion. If the plan goes forward, it has the potential to add even more artwork to the city's public art collection at the airport.

Laura Spencer is staff writer/editor at the Kansas City Public Library and a former arts reporter at KCUR.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.