First Four Artists Chosen for Kansas City International Airport New Terminal Public Art

The New Single Terminal and Parking at KCI has reached another milestone in the Call for Artists process, announcing the first four artists chosen to create artwork within the terminal.

The $5.65 million budget for new commissioned public artworks is the largest One Percent for Art project in Kansas City history with opportunities for 27 individual artists and new artworks to be displayed publicly in the new Terminal and Parking Garage at KCI.

In October 2020, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, issued Calls for Artists for the first four locations in the New Terminal and parking structure, launching an international search for artists to create compelling new works. Response was encouraging, as artists submitted more than 1,000 inquiries for multiple locations.

“The response has been truly overwhelming,” said James Martin, City of Kansas City, Missouri public art administrator. “Selection panelists were thrilled to have so many talented artists to consider from all over the world.”

Four Selection Panels, comprised of local arts professionals, Municipal Art Commission members, community representatives, and Kansas City Aviation Department staff reviewed the applications and created a shortlist of 5 semifinalists for each of the four locations. The semifinalists received a stipend to create proposals in an RFP phase to present to the selection panels. After deliberation, finalists were chosen and presented to the Municipal Art Commission for initial approval. All artist proposals will then be presented to the Kansas City, Missouri City Council for final approvals.

Images of the selected art can be viewed here. Note: proposal images may be refined during fabrication stage and design details subject to change. The selected artists include:

Artist: Nick Cave
Location: Check-In Hall Ceiling
Title: “The Air Up There”
Description: The artwork is a kinetic sculpture made from thousands of colorful wind spinners delivering positive tenets, as well as local icons. It will be Kansas City-connected and an immersive installation that conveys the wonder of travel, located in the new terminal Check-In Hall ceiling.

Artist: Soo Sunny Park
Location: Escalator to Baggage Claim area
Title: “Molten Swing” (Capturing Light Series)
Description: This composition honors Kansas City jazz musician Bennie Moten (1894-1935), whose “Moten Swing” exemplifies an innovative approach to big band music that would lead to Kansas City being the only US city listed as a UNESCO City of Music. Park’s work uses ordinary building materials, like glass and chain-link fencing, to restructure and enliven spaces, by creating a suspended metallic molten form that reshapes the space around it with light, reflection, and shadows.

Artist: Nassia Inglessis
Location: Retail Node A
Title: “Fountain of Resonance”
Description: The piece evokes Kansas City as the City of Fountains, without water. Fountains are a point of gathering in the public space and flying is our contemporary means of connecting our world in the same way. The wing “droplets” are inspired by windmills, wind turbine blades and airplane propellers in their ability to capture and propagate energy. The kinetic sculpture will capture and reflect natural light throughout the space.

Artist: Willie Cole
Location: Retail Node B
Title: “Ornithology”
Description: The artist proposed a sculptural ceiling installation that embraces Kansas City’s rich musical legacy and its bounty of ecological wonders. Inspiration comes from confluence of culture and ecosystems, biodiversity of Missouri Basin, native & migratory birds of Missouri, KC music legacy/Charlie “Yardbird” Parker.

Slated to open in early 2023, the Build KCI project will replace the aging three-terminal complex with a single, modern terminal and 6,000-plus space garage that will improve the traveling experience for residents and visitors. Public art will be a significant part of this experience. The remaining art location finalists will be announced in a staggered rollout by the end of the year as the One Percent for Art process continues.

“We are confident that we have a selection of public artworks that will complement the beauty of Kansas City’s new airport terminal,” said Pat Klein, director of aviation. “As the front door of the community, the New Terminal will provide the first impression to many first-time visitors. This art will convey that we are truly world-class.”

The next opportunity for Call for Artists at KCI opens April 19, 2021, for Concourses A & B.

View the art location heat map here. 

For more information about public art at KCI, visit buildkci.com/art, and for information about the KCMO One Percent for Art program visit kcmo.gov/art. More details of the whole New Terminal project are available at BuildKCI.com and on social media at @BuildKCI.

The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general fund tax revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system.

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Media Contact:

Joe McBride