Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, MO

I just returned from Kansas City, my first trip back since my father died rather suddenly six months ago. I was there to help my stepmother clean out my father’s closet.

While the task was not something I was looking forward to, it had to be done. The timing worked out and I was eager to see the new Kansas City International Airport (MCI) terminal, which opened on February 28th. It features the largest public art project in the history of the city.

Artists with Kansas City ties created works of art which are located in the terminal’s two concourses, while other spaces in and outside of the terminal are reserved for pieces made by artists from around the world.

Fountain, Leo Villareal

I really liked the two large ceramic installations on either end of the check-in hall. George Rodriguez is an artist who spent years in Seattle. His work, on the south end of the hall, was absolutely perfect for the space. The piece pays homage to the jazz history in Kansas City.

George Rodriguez, Let The Music Take You
Ceramic stoneware with glaze
Another view
Another view

On the north end of the check-in hall was work by sculptor John Balistreri which features references and symbols to the Kansas City area.

Wings, John Balistreri
Ceramic stoneware with slips and glazes
Another view

Hanging throughout the ceiling of the check-in hall was a Nick Cave installation featuring thousands of colorful wind spinners, with many local connections like shuttlecocks and fountains.

Nick Cave, The Air Up There

Kansas City-based artist Linda Lighton, who my father was friends with, has a wall piece at Gate A10, the gate my flight flew in and out of. The piece features flowers and insects of the Great Plains painted on tiles.

I really liked Jill Anholt’s Sky Prairie installation on the way to the parking garage.

Sky Prairie, Jill Anholt

I was in a rush to meet my aunt and uncle and could not properly photograph the Soo Sunny Park’s Molten Swing installation which hangs over the escalators going down to baggage claim. You can see better photos of all the art at MCI here. It was kind of cool.

Molten Swing, Soo Sunny Park

I didn’t see any tornado shelter signs at the new airport, but am sure they are around.

I vaguely remember how excited KC was when the now defunct airport opened in 1972. The unique design of that airport were three identical horseshoe shaped terminals. When you landed you would literally walk out of your gate, grab your luggage, and you were just steps out to the street.

My favorite memory of the old airport was my father meeting me right at the gate, as close as he could get, with a huge excited smile on his face. I would more often than not travel solo with one, two, three children from the East Coast. The most notable was a late night solo flight when upon landing I had one child who had recently thrown up and the youngest sound asleep. I was near defeat. A rather large nice looking man on my flight offered to carry the sleeping child for me, and I appeared from the jetway with two bedraggled children in hand, and the man carrying my youngest. After the man handed my child to my dad, he asked who that was? I said I had no idea. Right there explains how wonderful people in KC are. It is a truly special place. My dad never tired of telling that story.

My father was a patron and lover of the arts, and number one Woman Seeking Art fan. I can’t help but think how thrilled he’d have been to see the final result. I really miss him.

5 thoughts on “Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, MO

  1. I love seeing the george rodriguez pieces! Wonderful post, condolences to you on your fathers passing.

  2. Ann, This is such a beautiful post! I really enjoyed seeing the photos of the art and look forward to seeing them in person! Your father would have loved seeing all of this amazing art in the new airport!

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