Our Hometown Tourists Explore Public Art at Sacramento International Airport

Each time travelers pass through Sacramento International Airport, they're walking through an art museum. As you grab your bags and rush to the train to get to baggage claim, try looking around. There are lovely pieces of public art to see and experience. 

Terminal A doesn’t have as much art as the newer Terminal B, but one favorite in Terminal A is located in the baggage claim area. As you are waiting for your luggage to appear on the carousel, take a moment to enjoy the columns of suitcases stacked to the ceiling. Cindy loves the cases with the stickers from exotic countries. (Title: Samson by Brian Goggin) But don’t just look at the suitcase pillar. Take a look at the tops of the windows looking out to the road. There are lovely painted glass panels of trees and greenery. (Title: River’s Edge by Gregory Kondos)

If you arrived in Terminal B, as you get off the train -- slow down!  Look around!

Of course most people notice the famous/infamous “big red rabbit”  (Title:  Leap by Lawrence Argent).  “Leap” may be the most talked-about piece at Sacramento International Airport, but there is a lot more art to see and enjoy. So, as you arrive in Sacramento and make your way to baggage claim, take your eyes off that rabbit and do this:

Look down.  On the floor are lovely mosaic tiles depicting blackbirds, bird houses and pussy willows.  (Title: Flying Colors by Suzanne Adan)

Keep walking.
Look down.  On the floor are the black shadows of birds on a yellow background.

Pause.
Look up.  Hanging from the ceiling are bird cages casting intriguing mosaic shadows. (Title: As the Crow Flies by Lynn Criswell)

Keep walking.
Look down. On the floor is a mosaic of spheres and circles.  Are they bubbles on the surface of water? The Universe?  (Title: A Fragment of the Universe by Joan Moment)

As you go to catch the escalator down, try not to get mesmerized again by that big red rabbit.  Instead:

Look to your right. Look to your left.
On the side walls of the elevators are video images that change, depicting what appears to be a flowing river. (Title: Active Ecosystem by Camille Utterback)

I know you’re quickly looking to figure out which baggage carousel is yours, but when you get to the bottom of the escalator, take a moment to notice the large marble suitcase with a hole in it that the big red rabbit is leaping into. There must be a metaphor here. Maybe more than one. Being a work of art, each person’s response will be unique, and, well – personal. 

So -- did you see all of the art as you arrived to Sacramento? Nope. There will be more for you to see as you return to Sacramento International Airport for your departure.

I hope you’re leaving in daylight, because, as you approach the terminals, you initially pass the large prehistoric-looking birds that appear to be made from stained glass that live along the road and next to the parking garage. You can view them up close and personal next to Terminal A. They have been there a while -- since the new parking garage was constructed. There are 12 of these gigantic multicolored birds. Can you find them all? Depending on the season or time of day, the birds may appear faded or even covered with a layer of dust. They may not be quite as brilliant and shiny today as when they were first installed, but when the rains finally come and clean them off, and if you are there when the sun hits them just right, they dazzle like new.  (Titled: Flying Gardens by Dennis Oppenheim).

If you enter Terminal A from the parking garage, you have the good fortune to walk on the digital floor covering depicting aerial images of the Sacramento Valley and the Sacramento River.  (Title: Flying Carpet by Seyed Alavi)

Terminal A has some wonderful lead-light art glass above and behind the ticketing counters. (Title: Traveling Light by Leslie Birleson). While waiting to go through security, look up. See the color and lights (Title: Chromatic Oasis by Christopher Janney). After passing through security in Terminal A, look down and notice the river tiled into the floor. Cindy purposely walks along the river as if traveling down-river to her destination. It may not be listed as art in the brochure -- apparently it’s just the floor -- but she likes it.

If you’re departing Sacramento from Terminal B, typically you will check bags or rush off to security. Once again, let’s not get caught up in the conversation about the big red rabbit, but notice instead at the far wall behind the ticketing counters some fabulous (Cindy’s favorite in Terminal B) wood sculptured walls. Three faces are depicted on each side. These six faces make Cindy think of the indigenous peoples of California. But they actually represent the working men and women who labor behind the scenes throughout the airport, making it run. (Title: The Baggage Handlers by Christian Moeller)

Before boarding the train you will pass over the mosaics on the floor again. Admire them again.

When you get off the train and through security: Look up at the tree branch hung above the dining area;  it’s dripping with sparkling Swarovski crystals that catch the light.  Looking like rain drops hanging from the branch. (Title: Acorn Steam by Donald Lipski) 

Against the far wall next to the windows in the middle of the dining area is a large tuba. Yes, a tuba. Get close. You will find you can have it play music to sooth you as you wait for your flight. (Title: Your Words are Music to My Ears by Po Shu Wang/ Louise Bertelsen - Living Lenses)

Hopefully you planned on eating at the airport. Sacramento really has some of the best airport restaurants and dining. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, it does not matter. They have you covered. Cindy has eaten at every restaurant at the airport, mostly breakfasts, but a couple dinners and lunches along the way. They are all great. You can’t go wrong. On several trips into Sacramento, Cindy picked up a meal to go as she was leaving the airport.  It saved time and hassle stopping on the way home.  Check out the food selections.

Some people may complain about the money spent on public art, especially in government buildings. Could the money be better spent on services and people in our community? But consider this; artists earn their living from creating this art.  Artists are also members of our community. And their works of art make what could be a sterile and uninteresting place, a more enjoyable and peaceful place to sit and wait.

It is great when art is also functional, like the tile floors, the tree chandelier and the pillars and walls.  Cindy is not a fan of the big red rabbit. But, love it or hate it, the big red rabbit is a big raving success. People come from all over the world to see it.  (Title: Leap by Lawrence Argent)  And when you arrive in Sacramento via plane, YOU NOTICE IT!  YOU TALK ABOUT IT! And YOU REMEMBER IT! It’s hard not to, really, but don’t let it distract you from noticing the rest of the public art in Sacramento International Airport.

Also look for the artwork by Greg Kondos, Ned Kahn, Mildred Howard and Marcia Stuermer. 

Want to learn more about the Art at Sacramento International Airport and the artists?  Go to the airport's site about the art.

Or you can also check out the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission's listing or Top 12 Things You May Not Know About Sacramento International Airport.

Sacramento International Airport’s public art: see, experience, and enjoy.

Samson
(Title: Samson by Brian Goggin)

A Fragment of the Universe
(Title: A Fragment of the Universe by Joan Moment)

Acorn Steam
(Title: Acorn Steam by Donald Lipski) 

Active Ecosystem
(Title: Active Ecosystem by Camille Utterback)

As the Crow Flies
(Title: As the Crow Flies by Lynn Criswell)

Flying Colors
(Title: Flying Colors by Suzanne Adan)

Flying Gardens
(Titled: Flying Gardens by Dennis Oppenheim)

Music To My Ears
(Title: Your Words are Music to My Ears by Po Shu Wang/ Louise Bertelsen - Living Lenses)

The Baggage Handlers
(Title: The Baggage Handlers by Christian Moeller)

The Leap Suitcase
(Title:  Leap by Lawrence Argent, Suitcase Portion)