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Five Favorites from the Sea-Tac Public Art Collection

May 14, 2019

Travelers fly all over the world to see amazing art in world-class museums. But did you know that first-class art is available right under (or sometimes above) your nose at Sea-Tac Airport? 

And, did you know that Sea-Tac Airport was the first airport in the country to have a public art program? The first pieces were purchased in 1972 and the collection contains some of the some of the most unique and finest contemporary works in glass, sculpture, photography, painting, and sound. And because the art was funded by the public, it’s always on display and available for you to view. 

According to Tommy Gregory, manager of the Sea-Tac art program, “Our airport’s collection provides a taste from regional artists and displays fantastic acquisitions from the beginning of Sea-Tac’s public art program.  The art here adds a great, humanizing element to the travel experience. I am proud to work in a place that cares about the visual culture and provides museum quality work for our visiting public.”

Gregory has selected his five favorites from the Sea-Tac Airport art collection, and provided commentary on why they are important and where you can find them:

Frank Stella, York Factory A, 1972

Location: Terminal A 
Probably America’s most versatile artist, Frank Stella has been making art since the late 1950s. He explored the boundaries of minimalism in the 1960s by creating paintings on non-traditional canvas shapes. He began by crafting canvases that were still somewhat rectilinear — in N, L, and T shapes, for example. Later in the decade, he began to push boundaries even further when he began his Protractor Series, a set of paintings based around the arcs and curves that can be created with a protractor.

Frank Stella

Louise Nevelson, Night Flight #1, 1973

Location: Mezzanine level of the Airport Convention Center
She is one of the pioneers of the 1930’s, making pieces out of found materials and elevating them in ways that granted her international recognition as well as support as a Works Progress Artist. Night Flight #1 is a defining example of Nevelson's stunning oeuvre. This piece has nine separate box sculptures made up of various found objects all combined with an irregular frame. The objects include the back of a chair, pieces of molding, and wooden disks. Nevelson gave her work a sense of mystery with a coat of her favorite color, "aristocratic black."

Louise Nevelson art with wooden boxes

Metz&Chew (Muse Atelier), Cathedral, 2019

Location: North Satellite 
A visual arts duo, Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew, recently completed an ambitious two-part permanent art installation in the New North Satellite here at Sea-Tac. The artwork consists of 20 custom glass panels and one large bronze tree log. According to the artists, “One of the threads running through our body of work is a meditation on landscape and culture and on positioning ourselves within the world. Our work reflects on perception and interpretation, on re-contextualizing the familiar or iconic, on how we mythologize the world around us.”

Tall glass sculpture with brass log in front

Trimpin, On: Matter, Monkeys and the King, 2004

Location: Terminal A
An extremely well-respected Seattle-based multimedia artist, Trimpin has exhibited throughout Washington state in places such as the Tacoma Art Museum, The University of Washington, and The Frye Museum, to name a few.  His permanent installation here at Sea-Tac is truly a wonder, described here by the arts, “My work is an ongoing exploration of the concepts of sound, vision and movement, experimenting with combinations that will introduce our senses of perception to a totally new experience. Although I use the latest technology available, I work with 'natural' elements — water, air, light …”

Trimpin ArtworkTrimpin art detail of a monkey

Cable Griffith, Cascadia, 2019

Location: Coming soon to Concourse C
We are proud to be working with Cable Griffith on his first large scale permanent public art piece, soon to be installed in Concourse C. His impressive glass installation has 22 hand-painted panels that will illuminate a newly-constructed escalator core between gates C15 and C16.  He is a proficient painter based in Seattle, and is also a professor at Cornish College of the Arts.  

Cascadia right sideCascadia 2Cascadia

Download the STQRY app to view Sea-Tac Airport’s art collection

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