Over the past few weeks, local artists have been working throughout the night at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport to complete eight temporary art exhibits scattered across the space. These projects are part of the Lambert Art and Culture Program – an ongoing program which strives “to create a visually outstanding impression of St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), generate community pride, and ensure that art at Lambert continues to complement and build upon the airport’s rich visual legacy,” through a series of permanent and rotating features.
In addition to supporting and showcasing the talents of local artists, these unique exhibits allow visitors to learn about the area and its distinct, creative culture. As put by the airport’s public information manager, Jeffrey Lea, “The Airport is [a] gateway for the region…often the first and last impression of our visitors,” so it is crucial to the airport that this experience be aesthetically-pleasing and reflective of the community.
Every number of months, a panel of art experts and community representatives review proposals made by artists across the state and recommend new exhibits. While art pieces adorn the entirety of the airport, baggage claims are especially conducive to expansive artwork due to their size and audience. The rushed and hectic airport experience often comes to a grinding halt when one is awaiting the unloading of one’s baggage, so it was felt the placement of art around this area would be “a great way to engage them—give our passengers and visitors a visual experience [while] they are waiting.”
Artist Ellie Balk is one of two local artists who were chosen to work on creating a mural for the Terminal 2 baggage claim. Balk’s work is based around creating systems through color, math, and data visualization. According to her website, her overall goal is to create a personal, informative experience for all viewers, as she feels that “artwork…employ[s] this intimacy with the community and allow[s] a direct link to the space.”
The second artist chosen for this space, Megan Singleton, took a very different approach to her mural. Singleton’s website talks about how she tries to incorporate aspects of her passion for ecology into her art through creating “works that resonate with the materiality and rhythms of the natural world.” Educating the public and spreading awareness, she believes, “can inspire communities and individuals to care and foster the growth and revitalization of our landscapes and their natural systems.”
The Lambert Art and Culture program not only supports the many talented artists that live nearby financially, it also provides them with a widely-viewed canvas to display their unique points of view through the beautiful lense of art.