Wednesday, June 8, 2022

“Islands” 3-night activation brings fresh perspective to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s public artwork

Starting June 8th through the 10th, from 8:00 p.m. -9:30 p.m., a 3-night public art activation lands at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), bringing a rainbow of color, light, and community artistry. The artwork activation and experience is titled “Islands” by artist Lisa B. Woods and will be located between the Blue Parking Garage and the Consolidated Rental Car Facility at the public art sculpture, “Meanderwing”.  Parking is available at the Blue Parking Garage at 3201 Presidential Blvd located on the airport campus.   

The development and installation of the permanent “Meanderwing” artwork and the temporary “Islands” installation were commissioned by the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program and funded through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Parking Garage West Capital Improvement Budget. “Islands” is an environment of interactive light beams, creating a world where individual movement radiates patterns of light and color.  “Meanderwing” is a 90 foot-long sculpture installed in 2021 by artist Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY. 

“Islands” brings to light both distance and togetherness.  As the COVID-19 precautions rippled through the world, Woods was inspired to create a piece that evokes the social isolation of physical distancing while simultaneously celebrating the emotional connections we all share. 

“In response to the isolation of the past 2 years, I needed to create something about the intangible links between people. In many ways, the pandemic “broke” me socially, and it will take some time before I feel fully repaired and reconnected. Islands is an invitation to consider our personal interconnection — even to strangers walking by.” said Woods. 

As individuals and passersby rotate around the sculpture, interactions will create mesmerizing intersecting patterns of beams of light. The parking garage corridor in which “Islands” will be located provides a great vantage point to view both permanent and temporary artwork simultaneously. The temporary piece will attract a diverse crowd to the airport enticing passersby to participate, inspire and be inspired by artwork here in Austin and hopefully around the world.  

“We love to see the collaboration of artists and their work to spark conversation and appreciation of art in the City's collection,” explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Director of the Economic Development Department. “This public art activation at AUS exemplifies the inspirational journey we can provide for residents and visitors to Austin as well as the monetary support of our creative sector.”

Lisa B. Woods participated with “Meanderwing” artist Marc Fornes through the Art in Public Places’ LaunchPAD (Public Art Duo) program which pairs local artists with current commissioned artists on large-scale public art projects. The LaunchPAD artist acts as an in-town representative attending on-site meetings for the artist and helps complete materials and fabrication research. The program allows emerging artists to create important connections in the public art field, complete relevant training and get behind-the-scenes experience on big projects. Additionally, Austin is the first (and only) city in the United States to receive a Creative City of Media Arts designation from UNESCO. This honor underscores Austin’s reputation as an innovative global city at the intersection of art, music, film, gaming and multidisciplinary digital experiences such as “Islands”.

“Celebrating public art is in our community and airport’s DNA,” said Jacqueline Yaft, Chief Executive Officer for AUS. “Our incredible art installations that greet visitors and welcome locals home each and every time they land is something we are proud of and we could not do it without the support and partnerships from the local and global artist community and the Economic Development Department."

Both “Islands” and “Meanderwing” were made possible through the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, overseeing Art in Public Places program which allocates 2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets to commission or purchase art for that site. Established by the City of Austin in 1985, Austin was the first municipality in Texas to codify a public art program. The current collection has grown to over 300 pieces.

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