The Aurora: Now inspiring travelers and visitors at MSP

Mar 12, 2021

Years in the making, the dazzling centerpiece of a terminal transformation is now giving travelers and visitors to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) an ever-changing Minnesota-inspired light show.

The Aurora is a 29-foot-high glass and metal sculpture that is suspended through an oval opening between the ticketing and baggage claim levels in Terminal 1. It’s an aerial wave of more than 20,000 aluminum rings that house over 1,900 hand-blown glass bulbs, each with a set of LEDs within. The Aurora is the creation of Jen Lewin, an internationally renowned new media and interactive sculptor who led a team to hoist the sculpture into place in fall 2020, and then finished the final phases of the installation in March 2021. 

Lewin programmed the sculpture’s nearly 6,000 RGB LEDs to use live weather data to alter their color palettes to reflect Minnesota’s seasons and weather conditions, such as blues and whites in colder times, greens and yellows during spring, or oranges and reds in the fall.

Below The Aurora, nestled within the baggage claim floor, Lewin created an interactive cluster of reflective glass platforms that take the forms of public lakes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, including Lake Phalen, Lake Como, Lake Nokomis and Lake of the Isles.

People walking or dancing across the lake platforms trigger swirling light and color changes beneath their feet that match the seasonal colors of The Aurora above.

The Aurora copyright 2021 Jen Lewin