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Five More Artists Selected To Join Massive Public Art Project At Kansas City International Airport

Hou de Sousa
Hou de Sousa
Riff/Lift by Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa will be part of a multi-story installation in the parking garage at the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

The Kansas City Municipal Arts Committee on Friday announced a slate of commissioned works for the second rollout of public art at the new terminal.

The new terminal at the Kansas City International Airport will include a diverse mix of installation art that will engage visitors as soon as they park and accompany them throughout their journey.

At a meeting Friday, the Municipal Arts Commission announced five more finalists for art installations, stretching from the parking garage all the way to a connector joining the terminal's two main parts.

Jill Anholt
Travelers at Kansas City International Airport's new terminal will cross between the parking garage and concourse A beneath "Sky Prairie" by Jill Anholt will

This is the second rollout of finalists for the KCI terminal, after the first group of artists were announced in April.

A third call for artists will close on June 18. Altogether, the terminal’s $5.65 million budget for commissioned art constitutes the largest public art project in Kansas City history, according to the city.

Pieces in this latest group of artists range from multi-story feathered airfoils to ceramic figures, illuminated aluminum pieces to overlapping clouds.

John Balistreri
“Wings” by John Balistreri is one of two installations destined for the check-in area at Kansas City International Airport.

"It provides a nice mix of works that are conceptual and abstract in nature with works that are more narrative and more representational and perhaps more approachable for a wider audience," says public art administrator James Martin.

The five artists selected come from a variety of mediums and styles.

They include John Balistreri with “Wings,” Jill Anholt with “Sky Prairie,” Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa with “Riff/Lift,” and SOFTlab/Michael Szivos with “Cloud Gazing,” and George Rodriguez with “Let the Music Take You.”

"Riff/Lift" from Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa will cascade down the stairwell of the parking garage. Comprised of metal fins, the project resembles multicolored falling feathers and airfoils.

Jill Anholdt's "Sky Prairie" is a sculpted series of aluminum shapes that resemble rolling hills and prairie grass. The shapes move and flow with the wind above travelers walking between concourse A and the parking garage.

George Rodriguez
George Rodriguez's "Let the Music Take You" will feature large ceramic figures that will be part of the check-in area.

On the north end of the check-in hall, John Balistreri's "Wings" resemble airfoils standing on end. The ceramic pieces all convey symbolic references to the area and its history.

At the south end, George Rodriguez's "Let the Music Take You" features several large ceramic figurines of jazz band members.

As travelers move from concourse A, they will walk beneath "Cloud Gazing" by Michael Szivos, with interlaced images shaped like a cloud.

SOFTlab/Michael Szivos
"Cloud Gazing" by MIchael Szivos at SOFTlab will float above travelers heads in the connector between the two main sections of the single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Commissioner Hector Casanova says the variety of art and perspectives adds to the experience of travelers.

“Anybody, regardless of where you come from what your experience is and what your exposure is to art is, you can go to the airport and see artwork that you can respond to and feel engaged by," Casanova says.

The finalists still need to be confirmed by City Council. Once their contracts are finalized, they will begin installation in October 2022 and will be done by the end of the the year.

KCI'S new terminal is scheduled to open in March 2023.

As KCUR’s general assignment reporter and visual journalist, I bring our audience inside the daily stories that matter most to the people of the Kansas City metro, showing how and why events affect residents. Through my photography, I seek to ensure our diverse community sees itself represented in our coverage. Email me at carlos@kcur.org.
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