When I was a kid, on the rare occasions my parents took us on a plane, upon landing my mother would sometimes exclaim ‘What a beautiful airport!’. I would laugh in my head and wonder, who thinks an airport is beautiful? Now that I am a grown-up, an art consultant, and travel frequently with my own kids, I have a much better appreciation for the beauty of a great airport.
For me there are four factors that take an airport from good to great:
1. Clean, modern, and updated—great architecture and design, plenty of access to plug in a phone or a laptop, clean and plentiful restrooms
2. Delicious, local food and drink choices—a full day of travel is most likely going to involve a meal or two at the airport. Please give me something that represents the city I am visiting and that I actually want to eat... and a good glass of wine to go with it (especially if there is a delay!)
3. Close in—I love being able to land and get right to it without having to drive an extra 30 or 45 minutes just to get to the city. Bonus points if the rental car process is easy and convenient
4. Great public art—from cool interactive pieces to awe-inspiring sculpture, mosaics, paintings, and multi-media works, great airports are an awesome place to see some of the country’s best public art!
Based on my recent travels, here are some of my favorite airports for public art around the country: