National Academies Press: OpenBook

Visual Arts Programs at Airports (2020)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Visual Arts Programs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26002.
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4 Introduction In 2018, Americans for the Arts, a national arts nonprofit, retained an independent polling organization to conduct a survey of 3,023 American adults about their views on various arts issues. More than 70% of those surveyed had positive feelings about the arts, their participation in the arts, and their interest in encountering the arts in nontraditional forums such as airports. Of those surveyed, 81% said the arts provide them with a positive experience (Americans for the Arts, 2018). When passengers were surveyed in an airport setting about encountering the arts in that environment, they had an even more positive reaction: indeed, 91% of respondents reported that art improved their airport experience, 85% would like to see more art in airports, 80% said that attending an arts performance improved their airport experience, and 75% said that art made using the airport less stressful (Bressi et al., 2019, p. 16). Beyond this overwhelm­ ingly positive reaction to the exhibition of the arts in airports, it is now generally recognized that offering such programs yields many other benefits for airports, their passengers, and the communities in which airports are located. Visual art exhibitions have been presented at domestic airports since at least the early 1980s. Nevertheless, there are few sources of information about airport arts programs that airport administrators and other interested persons may consult in an effort to understand issues related to the scope and operation of such programs, how they are developed and managed, their asso ciated operating costs, and the kinds of written guidelines and other governance documents that may be useful for their operation. The synthesis considers 13 domestic airport arts programs; Appendix A provides individual case examples for each program. The synthesis also documents the current state of practice of airport arts program management, lays out several criteria for comparing arts programs, and provides a basis for further research and analysis of such programs. The case examples provide a fair cross section of arts programs from airports of every size category (small, medium, large, and general aviation) and in every region of the United States. The studied airports represent population centers ranging from 16,000 to 18.7 million, with yearly passenger totals ranging from 85,000 to more than 87 million, and terminals with anywhere from zero to 132 gates (such as PHL depicted in Photo 2). This synthesis is directed at airports of all sizes that have an interest in developing arts programs or in improving the operation of existing programs, as well as their stakeholders, exhibiting artists, and other interested parties. 1.1 Overview of the Synthesis The synthesis is divided into three chapters and three appendices. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of airport rotating visual arts programs (such as the one shown in Photo 3) in Sections 1.2 and 1.3. Section 1.4 briefly identifies the benefits of airport arts programs. C H A P T E R 1

Introduction 5 Section 1.5 explains the research method that was followed for this synthesis, including infor­ mation about the literature review and how the case example interviews were conducted. Subsection 1.5.2 introduces the airport arts programs used as case examples for this paper, and Subsection 1.5.3 explains the interview process that was used to gather information from the studied airports. (Appendix C reproduces the questions used for the arts manager case example interviews.) Chapter 2 describes the state of practice of airport arts programs. Section 2.1 discusses airport arts program vision and mission statements and provides a ranking of the frequency with which such statements have been articulated by the studied programs. Table 2 and Figure 2 both show significant agreement and some divergence among the case example airports on the vision and mission of airport arts programs. Section 2.2 describes the persons and entities that airports and their arts program managers consider to be their audience and program stakeholders. The section introduces the concept Photo 2. Evan Lovett, Idle Hands, Landing Gear (PHL). PHL Terminal E. Photograph courtesy of Philadelphia International Airport. Photo 3. Michiko Yao, Passing Rose, installation view of digital photograph on vinyl. LAX Terminal 1. Photograph by Midwest Airport Consultants.

6 Visual Arts Programs at Airports of a primary and secondary audience—a concept articulated by the San Diego International Airport Arts Master Plan (SAN Arts Master Plan; Bressi et al., 2019) but widely held, either implicitly or explicitly, by other airport programs. Section 2.3 describes staffing at the studied arts programs and reveals a split among airports in the degree of autonomy exercised by the programs and their managers. Table 3 shows staffing levels at the studied airport arts programs. Section 2.4 delves into the substance of the arts programming process and provides an overview of how airports stage exhibitions and fill their art spaces. (The case examples in Appendix A provide more detail about the arts programming process that is followed by each airport.) Section 2.5 explores arts program budgets: Table 6 shows the case example airports’ overall arts program budgets, and Table 7 identifies the rates paid by each airport for visual art exhibits. Section 2.6 explains how airport arts programs measure the success of and viewer engagement with their programs against the standard of continuous evaluation recom­ mended by several arts program master planning documents. Sections 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9 continue the discussion of topics related to the operation of arts programs with a focus on marketing efforts that support arts programs, risk management practices, and certain ethics requirements applicable to arts program staff. Section 2.10 explains the benefits of airport arts programs from a number of perspectives: passenger well­being and engagement, airport terminal aesthetics, creation of a sense of place, generation of goodwill in the airport’s favor, service to the airport community, and several direct and indirect economic benefits. This section also considers a recent economic analysis performed by San Diego International Airport as part of its master planning process. The section concludes with a discussion of how airport arts programs have become an amenity that passengers now expect at airports, noting that some U.S. domestic airports are using such programs to obtain a competitive advantage in the airport marketplace. Chapter 3 concludes the synthesis by summarizing the previous sections of the paper, reflecting on certain themes discovered from the research, and identifying topics worthy of consideration for further research in the field. The appendices are not printed in the report but can be found on the TRB website (www. TRB.org) by searching for “ACRP Synthesis 114.” Appendix A contains the case examples of the 13 airport arts programs studied for this synthesis and includes color pictures of art exhibits at airports. Appendix B contains the results of passenger arts surveys performed by Los Angeles International Airport and San Diego International Airport. Appendix C contains the questions used for the interviews conducted with arts program managers as part of the research for this synthesis. Appendix A is integral to this compilation of airport practice and provides more in­depth documentation of interviews with airport arts program professionals about their arts programs. 1.2 Types of Airport Arts Programs Airports display several different kinds of visual art. Most airports purchase or commission visual artworks for display in terminals as part of their percent for art programs, which are generally required for capital improvement projects. Some airports, such as San Francisco International Airport, purchase and hold visual artworks as part of their own permanent collections, displaying them in an airport museum or other designated area. The airports studied for this synthesis obtain artworks and stage exhibitions of the visual or performing arts on a temporary or rotating basis. These exhibitions are staged in fixed areas, or they may move throughout the terminal and other passenger areas. The term “temporary rotating

Introduction 7 art exhibition” as used in this synthesis means that the art on display is not intended to be a permanent fixture at the airport or added to the airport’s art collection. Instead, the art in such exhibitions is obtained from an artist or an exhibitor and is displayed for a specific period of time in a location defined by the airport arts program. The art is then returned to the artist or exhibitor. 1.3 Rotating Visual Arts Programs Discussed in This Synthesis This synthesis does not address art that is part of an airport’s permanent collection. Instead, this synthesis addresses exhibitions of the visual arts that are staged at airports on a temporary or rotating basis. The report refers to such visual art exhibitions as “rotating visual art exhibi­ tions,” and to the airport programs under which such exhibitions are staged as “airport arts programs.” Some airport arts program managers who were interviewed for this synthesis also administer, as part of their arts programs, exhibitions of the performing arts that feature music, acrobatics, or theater. Other case example airports do not offer performing art exhibitions. This synthesis discusses the performing arts aspects of airport arts programs only insofar as they are part of the administration of airport arts programs and only to the extent that the perform­ ing arts are included in such programs. The performing arts offerings at airports, however, are significant enough to warrant detailed attention in a separate paper. 1.4 Benefits of Airport Arts Programs Although the studied airports differ in how they organize and administer their arts programs, they share many common characteristics, including program benefits. Section 2.10 explains in more detail the benefits that result from rotating visual art exhibitions specifically and from arts programs in general. It will be helpful for stakeholders to understand the general scope of those benefits before considering how the programs are organized, administered, and funded. Rotating visual arts programs at airports contribute significantly to an airport’s efforts to create a positive customer experience. Visual art exhibits also enhance airport aesthetics and create a sense of place that references the local cultural attributes of the region in which the airport is located. A sense of place at an airport is often a source of civic pride and familiarity: passengers often describe a sense of “coming home” when they observe familiar aspects of their hometown airport, such as the local art glass exhibit at SEA in Photo 4. Visual art exhibi­ tions also provide a calming atmosphere for passengers and a means of engagement during flight delays or downtime. Arts programs can create strong, positive relationships among an airport and its local community, commercial and institutional stakeholders, and local artists and arts organizations. Visual art exhibition programs have significant economic effects that are felt beyond the airport itself; for example, the regional yearly economic effect of a medium hub airport’s arts program has been estimated to be in excess of $20 million over a 4­year period. The economic effect of such programs on an airport’s commercial activities is smaller but still significant—so much so that concessions operators are enthusiastic supporters of arts programs, contribute funds to the programs, and are eager to locate their concessions near arts program venues. Finally, airport arts programs are considered to create a competitive advantage among airports for passenger satisfaction ratings, for positive social media commentary, and for the likelihood of attracting new passengers (both originating and connecting) and generating increased airline traffic. Section 2.10 discusses these findings in more detail.

8 Visual Arts Programs at Airports 1.5 Research Method Followed for This Synthesis 1.5.1 Literature Review Research for this project began with traditional literature searches at the arts and transporta­ tion collections of university and public libraries in several Midwestern cities, as well as online. Materials available on each studied airport’s website were also reviewed, including the digital archives of past rotating visual art exhibitions. Library searches located several works that focus on the management of arts programs in traditional and nontraditional settings, but no works that focus specifically on the airport arts program issues discussed in this synthesis or on the exhibition of the visual arts at airports. Similarly, treatises about arts program management in transportation facilities do not address such programs at airports. Although there are numerous online newspaper and magazine articles about art at airports, online research revealed little scholarship or even commentary about airport arts programs. (Many of these articles, however, are of interest for their description of the wide variety of exhibitions that take place at airports and of the creativity with which they are staged.) Likewise, a review of scholarship located several papers related to arts programs at public transportation facilities that, on occasion, tangentially mention airports. A search of graduate school theses located only two papers related to airport arts programs. The focus of the first paper, however, is on cultural issues related to Vancouver International Airport’s emphasis on indigenous art and includes only a general discussion of how art is exhibited in an airport setting (Leddy, 1997). The thesis is nonetheless an interesting investiga­ tion of the cultural implications of placing indigenous art in a commercial airport setting rather than in the educational context of a museum. The second thesis, though more relevant, primarily examines airport arts programs in the context of the more traditional museum exhibition model (Kramer, 2013). The thesis concludes that airport museums are a successful, non­ traditional venue for the arts because they share “reflexivity” with traditional museums in that both airports and museums inhabit buildings that are “structurally apt for exhibitions,” strive to represent their cities in a positive light, cater to tourism and travel, and are places of wonder, observations, and introspection. Lastly, contacts with several museums, art schools, Photo 4. Designer: Henry Johnson (age 10), Fabricator: Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team, Bridge of Glass Car. SEA Main Terminal. Photograph by Midwest Airport Consultants.

Introduction 9 and arts organizations failed to reveal any published works that address the issues discussed in this synthesis. 1.5.2 Case Example Airports Researching the origin of airport arts programs is challenging. Few historical records are available, and the founders of the programs have often moved on to other things. The oldest arts program among the studied airports is said to have begun in 1980 as an informal partner­ ship between the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). (Throughout this synthesis, the case example airports are first identified by the name designated by their sponsors and thereafter by their IATA code identifiers, as explained in Table 1.) The program was well received and, in the following year, SFO’s Airport Commission created a stand­alone airport arts program. Airport Code State FAA Region NPIAS Classification* Enplaned Passengers (2018) Arts Program Budget (2018) Arts Staff Albany International Airport ALB New York New England S 1.44 million $50,000 1.5 Austin– Bergstrom International Airport AUS Texas Southwest M 7.7 million $40,000 3 Indianapolis International Airport IND Indiana Great Lakes M 4.6 million N/A 1 Los Angeles International Airport LAX California Western- Pacific L 42.6 million $615,000 4 Miami International Airport MIA Florida Southern L 21 million $266,000 2 Nashville International Airport BNA Tennessee Southern M 8 million $325,000 4 Philadelphia International Airport PHL Pennsylvania Eastern L 15.3 million $439,000 5 Portland International Airport PDX Oregon Northwest Mountain L 9.8 million $70,000 1 San Diego International Airport SAN California Western- Pacific L 12.1 million $320,000 4 San Antonio International Airport SAT Texas Southwest M 4.8 million $100,000 1 San Francisco International Airport SFO California Western- Pacific L 29 million $585,000 38 Seattle– Tacoma International Airport SEA Washington Northwest Mountain L 27.7 million N/A 1 Truckee/Tahoe Airport TRK California Western- Pacific GA 85,000 $10,000 0.25 *Classifications are published by FAA as part of its National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Airports are designated as small (S), medium (M), or large (L) hubs or general aviation (GA). Table 1. Case example airports by code, state, FAA region, NPIAS classification, enplanements, arts program budget, and number of staff.

10 Visual Arts Programs at Airports Origins of airport arts programs are sometimes informal and spontaneous, as were those at Nashville International Airport (BNA) in 1987. Although no record of official board action can be found, 1 year later the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority created a section 501(c) (3) corporation to operate the arts program at BNA. At Miami International Airport (MIA), the airport director is reported to have started the program in 1996 at the encouragement of a senior administrative official. The arts program at Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is said to have originated in 1998 from the unwritten suggestion of an advisory board. At Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), the program appears to have been started in 1998 by the airport director without explicit action by the airport’s sponsor. Other programs have their origin in significant airport events, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 1990 (terminal renovation), Albany International Airport (ALB) in 1998 (new terminal con­ struction), San Diego International Airport (SAN) in 2003 (creation of a new airport governing authority), and Indianapolis International Airport (IND) in 2008 (new terminal construction). The two most recent arts programs studied for this synthesis are still administered by their original program managers. These include the programs at Truckee/Tahoe Airport (TRK), which originated in 2010 through a resolution adopted by its airport commission, and San Antonio International Airport (SAT), which originated in 2017 by policy mandate from the city council. This synthesis considers 13 domestic airport arts programs; Appendix A includes case examples for each of the studied programs. The case examples provide a cross section of arts programs from airports of every size category (small, medium, large, and general aviation) and in geographically diverse regions of the United States (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The studied airports represent population centers ranging from 16,000 to 18.7 million, with yearly passenger totals ranging from 85,000 to more than 87 million, and terminals with anywhere from zero to 132 gates. The synthesis is directed at airports of all sizes that have an interest in developing arts programs or improving the operation of existing programs, as well as their stakeholders, exhibiting artists, and other interested parties. Although Appendix A provides a significant amount of detail about the arts programs at the studied airports, it may be helpful to review some of the highlights from the case examples, which can provide context for the remainder of the synthesis: Figure 1. Case example airports by geographic location.

Introduction 11 1. Airport arts programs provide a relatively low­cost amenity that is popular with airport users and that directly supports an airport’s goal to develop a positive customer experience. 2. Airport arts programs are viewed as a vehicle for facilitating an airport’s engagement with the larger community in which the airport in located. 3. Airport arts programs provide identifiable economic benefits to the airport, the airport’s stakeholders and community, and the regional economy of the area in which the airport is located. 4. The studied airport arts programs are administered and staffed by at least one airport employee, and the trend among the studied airports is to retain arts program managers and staff who have professional arts qualifications. 5. The airport arts programs studied for this synthesis stage temporary visual art exhibitions that reach audiences numbering from 85,000 at TRK to 85 million at LAX and that together are viewed by more than 365 million passengers each year. 6. The studied airport arts programs operate at a relatively modest CPE of $0.02. 7. The trend among the studied airport arts programs is to pay exhibiting artists a market­based fee or stipend. 8. Collectively, the airport arts programs studied for this synthesis have more than 100 years of experience staging temporary visual art exhibitions and have a very low risk profile, with few program losses or liabilities. 1.5.3 Case Example Airport Interviews Following a review of the available literature, a questionnaire was developed for the purpose of conducting interviews with the arts program managers at the studied airports. A copy of the questionnaire used for the case example airport interviews is reproduced in Appendix C. Interviews were then conducted with arts program managers between August and November of 2019. The information obtained from the interviews with airport arts program managers was analyzed and put into the standardized format found in the case examples in Appendix A. A related document request was created in an effort to obtain as many as possible of the forms and documents used by the case example airports in the administration and manage­ ment of their arts programs. Those documents, which were analyzed, proved helpful because they often contained additional information about specific issues discussed in this synthesis. For example, artist contracts contained provisions that require an airport to engage in cer­ tain marketing activities, or that serve to shift risk among the parties as it relates to liability for damage to loaned and exhibited artworks. The material from the case examples, along with documents produced by each airport and information contained on its website, was then analyzed to form the basis for the discussion contained in Chapters 2 and 3 of this synthesis. On­site tours of art exhibition spaces and in­person case example interviews were conducted with as many arts managers as possible. The remaining interviews were conducted by telephone, with their art exhibitions viewed digitally. Interviews generally lasted for 2 hours and were followed by shorter follow­up interviews and email exchanges in an effort to clarify issues or to discuss the documents produced in response to document requests. Information collected from all of those sources (literature searches, on­site tours, individual interviews, document and website reviews) is contained in the case examples in Appendix A. The case examples contain a broad range of information arranged in a uniform format that is designed to provide an easy­to­follow introduction to the operation and management of each arts program. Thus,

12 Visual Arts Programs at Airports Photo 5. Maestro Sebastian Sculpture (from left to right: Corset, Know, and Rizo). SAT, terminal/parking garage tunnel walkway gallery. Photograph by Midwest Airport Consultants. the case examples contain information about the history of the arts program at each of the studied airports, program staffing, a short description of exhibit spaces (such as the one at SAT in Photo 5), the perceived benefits of the arts program, the program’s target audience and stake­ holders, marketing activities, programming processes and documents, yearly budget figures, risk management and insurance practices, and efforts to measure the success of the program. Chapter 2 provides a narrative of the findings of the research and identifies several of the themes that developed over the course of the interviews with arts program managers.

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Every airport that aspires to high ratings must offer an engaging arts program because these are offered by all of the world’s most highly rated airports. It is also now generally accepted that airport arts programs yield many additional benefits for airports, passengers, and the communities in which airports are located. Airport arts programs have become an amenity that airport passengers now expect, and they serve to tether an airport to its local community.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Synthesis 114: Visual Arts Programs at Airports is an initial compilation of practices that airport arts professionals use for understanding the operations, management, and benefits of temporary visual arts programs at their airports.

Supplemental materials to the report include arts program case examples, arts program passenger surveys, and questions used for arts program manager interviews.

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