Airport Art

Earlier this month, I took part in a writers’ retreat at a resort on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, which necessitated my passing through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I didn’t get the chance to see much of anything when I arrived, but departure day was another story. I arrived very early for my 630am flight home, and thus had enough time to wander Concourse A. First, I passed some display cases with some very cute glass figures that were made for the Kids Design Glass Program:

Our Kids Design Glass™ Program invites children 12 and under to stretch their imaginations and create original designs based on the artwork displayed at the Museum. The whimsical designs kids create stretch the talents of our highly-skilled glassblowing team—and they love the challenge! One entry is selected to be interpreted into glass by the Hot Shop Team each month. Two sculptures are created—one for the designer to take home and one for the Museum’s Kids Design Glass™ Collection.

Here are a few of my favorites. And no, that’s not a misspelling of “Deomn”–that’s how it’s spelled in the exhibit.

Hungry Ghost


Recycle Robot

Big Ears

Angel/Deomn Triceratops That Loves Candycanes











There were also a number of columns covered with colorful mosaics.

“Columbia Gardens” by Rudy Autio

The fat, white ponies made me think of Judith Tarr’s Lipizzans.






“In Memory Of My Father, Nai-Ling Cheng” by Amy Cheng

These dragons caught my eye, though the fact that they were part of a memorial made me a little sad.






While I was waiting for a coffee shop to open, I spotted this distinctive pattern in some marble. A black horse to go with the white ones in the column.







There’s a moving sidewalk that runs through the concourse. There are some installations in glass cases that run alongside that I thought of as “Rube Goldberg” contraptions, gears and pulleys and belts and bells. I don’t think they were operating full-blast–it was very early, the crowds were light, restaurants and shops were still closed, and the noise would’ve overwhelmed everything else in the concourse. But one was running a little, so I recorded a short video:

Rube Goldberg #1

Some of the exhibits are described here, a website that contains information about all the art on display at the airport.

Finally, I did spot one little item at the retreat. There was a potted tree in the resort lounge on which perched a few stuffed birds and this owl. It’s small, but so bright that you can see it from across the room. It made me smile.

Olympia Owl


About Kristine Smith

Kristine Smith is the author of the Jani Kilian series and a number of SF and fantasy short stories, and is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She worked as a pharmaceutical process development scientist for 26 years, but now writes full-time. She also writes supernatural thrillers under the name Alex Gordon. Check out her BVC bookshelf


Airport Art — 5 Comments

  1. Love the pix, ghost horse, Rube Goldberg.

    My favorite SeaTac airport art is virtually inaccessible. I used to take people on a long-cut through Concourse B to see “Flying Fish,” but it isn’t allowed anymore. They are mostly bronze salmon swimming up a blue mosaic stream on the floor, but ever ten fish or so it isn’t a fish but a Boeing 707 carrying a briefcase. And the bronze fish near the water fountains are in the style of Pacific Northwest Native American art.

    Here’s the web page of the artists:

    (Funny that I remembered the briefcase-carrying fish as the 707, but it isn’t, it’s one of the fish, and is carrying a suitcase. Which makes more sense in context, but I thought it was a business-fish on a business trip. Looking a bit grumpy!)

    The URL also has a picture of one of the PNW-style fish.


  2. Yeah, you’re only allowed on a concourse if you have a ticket on a plane leaving from that concourse. I miss the flying fish! There’s a whirlpool outside the security booth at Concourse B that you can still see, but it isn’t the same as following the blue mosaic stream and the bronze fish in it.