Blue Skies is the first new permanent art installation since 2008
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INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 13, 2023) – The new Blue Skies suspended art sculpture is on display now at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), making it the first permanent art installation in the terminal since it opened more than 15 years ago.
“The Indy airport’s commitment to local artists and public art is soaring to new heights this year,” said Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority. “Suspended more than 65 feet in the air from the terminal roof structure, this new public art piece will welcome nearly 9 million visitors to the Indy airport each year and many more for years to come.”
Blue Skies is the brainchild of Indianapolis artist and soon-to-be Herron graduate Brenna McCarty. McCarty was selected earlier this year to create the art, a unique 40-foot by 100-foot hanging sculpture, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of The International Center supported by a $120,000 grant from the Brooks and Joan Fortune Family Foundation.
“From our start in 1973, The Center has worked to make all feel welcome coming to our global state. We wanted to gift a piece of art that is created by the community and is dedicated to the community to convey that welcoming value,” said Martin Baier, president and CEO of The International Center. “We couldn’t think of a better place to display the art than our award-winning international airport, the gateway of Hoosier hospitality.”
The suspended sculpture is composed of hundreds of acrylic spheres, intricately arranged and set at various lengths with hues of blue, to embody the ideals of togetherness and worldwide connectivity. The spheres are a lighter hue the farther out from the middle, “creating an impactful sense of movement and energy that parallels a busy airport where individual paths cross, and people come together to either return home or embark on their next journey,” McCarty explained.
“Blue Skies is welcoming travelers to the city and is advancing contemporary art within our urban landscape while also connecting with the rich history of art in both the city and the state,” said Greg Hull, dean of the Herron School of Art & Design. “We’re always seeking out opportunities for our students’ work to shine. It’s just been incredible to see what she’s been able to accomplish with this project.”
The Indy airport partners with community organizations like The International Center to uplift the creative economy, which includes elevating local artists and art institutions such as the Herron School of Art & Design, to the global stage. For half a century, The International Center has served as a guide to the world’s cultural landscape and a catalyst for the state’s international growth. The International Center expands Indiana’s global interest through a variety of programs and services, convening people with diverse interests around shared common international goals.
The permanent art installation is located in public access pre-security of the terminal, suspended above the escalators and stairs leading from the Ticketing Hall into Baggage Claim.
Officials from the Indianapolis Airport Authority and representatives from The International Center and Herron School of Art & Design, along with the project team and special guests, will gather tomorrow evening to officially dedicate the installation during a private event. The artwork is on display now for the public to view.
McCarty shared what she anticipates travelers will experience when viewing Blue Skies, “I hope it will represent a ‘send off’ and a ‘return home.’ I hope this brings a tranquil moment, a space for stillness, serenity and peace — like a breath of fresh air.”
A multidisciplinary designer and artist, McCarty is a soon-to-be graduate of the Herron School of Art & Design receiving a bachelor’s in fine arts, with a concentration in sculpture and printmaking and a minor in art history. She has lived abroad in Australia and traveled to Madagascar, Zambia and the Philippines, where she focused on humanitarian work and freelanced in digital brand design and videography. Currently, McCarty is part of the Converse global digital design team at the Nike corporation. She also serves as a lead brand creative for Exale, a well-being app for Black Women and Women of Color.
Since she was two years old, McCarty has flown in and out of the Indy airport. She fondly recalls memories where, “there were times that the Indy airport felt like a second home to me.”
To learn more about the Indy airport’s award-winning arts and culture program, visit IND.com/PublicArt.
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About the Indianapolis Airport Authority
The Indianapolis Airport Authority owns and operates Indiana’s largest airport system in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. In addition to the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), its facilities include the Downtown Heliport, Eagle Creek Airpark, Hendricks County Airport-Gordon Graham Field, Indianapolis Regional Airport and Metropolitan Airport. IND generates a $7.5 billion total annual economic impact to the state of Indiana – without relying on state or local taxes to fund operations. More than 11,000 people work at the airport each day, and nearly 54,000 jobs statewide have a connection to the airport. In 2022, IND served more than 8 million business and leisure travelers. IND is consistently ranked, year after year, as the best airport in North America and the nation, based on ease of use, passenger amenities, customer service, local retail offerings and public art. The airport is home of the world’s second largest FedEx operation and the nation’s eighth-largest cargo facility. For more information, visit IND.com
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