Airports as Artports

Electric experiences

An illuminating new exhibition at Quad City International Airport takes advantage of the uniqueness of the airport space to showcase local artwork that incorporates neon, video and other light forms. It is the latest in a rolling series of sparkling shows at the US airport.

Quad City Arts is a non-profit arts organisation dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Quad City region, serving six counties in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Local and regional artists compete for the chance to exhibit in the 1,600sq ft, brightly lit, glass encased exhibit space inside Quad City International Airport.

Six shows per year are professionally curated at the Art @ The Airport gallery, with a variety of styles and mediums. The cultural vibrancy of the local community is presented to the nearly one million visitors going through the airport each year.

“Passengers take their minds off the stress of travel by strolling through the exhibits,” says Quad City Arts Visual Arts Director Dawn Wohlford-Metallo. “Travellers new to the Quad Cities are often surprised by the talent of the region’s artists.”

The latest exhibition is called ‘Electrified’ and runs from 9 July to 2 September 2019. Quad City region artists are showcasing works that incorporate neon and video, along with other lighting effects.

Bruce Walters’ portrait of astronaut John Glenn helps celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, with graphite drawings of astronaut Michael Collins and other pilots also featuring. Space age-related projection videos are looping on six monitors.

Elsewhere, vintage automobile signs have been loaned from K.V. Dahl of Dahl Ford to add a sense of nostalgia, while an interactive exhibit requires viewers to climb onto a vintage bicycle and pedal in order to illuminate the display, courtesy of Bill Wohlford and Ron Kessel.

“With ‘Electrified’, I wanted to take advantage of the numerous electrical outlets and the ability to darken the space,” says Dawn Wohlford-Metallo. “It’s the perfect place to showcase artwork that incorporates neon, video and other light forms. This type of exhibit can be very tricky in other spaces.

“The theme allowed us to incorporate some local history in the form of old signs and artefacts from the automobile industry. Adding a vintage bicycle that visitors can climb on to activate Model A headlights that illuminate the signage helps engage the audience.”

The Art @ The Airport gallery is accessible to more than just passengers, as it is located before security. The gallery is free to visit and never closes – with parking costing just a dollar – extending the reach of the electric artistic experiences.

Warm glow: Dawn Wohlford-Metallo’s Honeyhouse Wonderland

Current affairs: ‘Electrified’ features works from Quad City region artists that incorporate neon, video and lighting effects

Lighting up the room: Bruce Walters’ portrait of astronaut John Glenn is among the exhibition highlights

The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 266 | 4 September 2019

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 20 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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