The MSP Arts and Culture Program brings the arts to the airport in an effort to enrich the passenger journey.
Charged with a mission to enhance the airport, the nonprofit Airport Foundation MSP developed the MSP Arts and Culture Program in partnership with the airport’s governing body, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). By 2008, the Arts and Culture Steering Committee had created the program's Master Plan to provide a framework for its operations and future initiatives.
The Foundation handles ongoing responsibility for the coordination of projects, exhibits, and performances; communication with artists, community members, and project staff; and installation of equipment and exhibits. The MAC provides funding, spaces within the airport, infrastructure improvements to airport facilities, and involvement in all aspects of commissioned artworks that will be a part of airport infrastructure.
The MSP Arts and Culture Program showcases the Upper Midwest’s diverse artistic community, natural environment, and cultural heritage. Multi-faceted, dynamic, and supportive of both internal and external communities, the program delivers arts that transform airport spaces, enhance the travel experience, and create a unique sense of place at MSP.
For all the details about the MSP Arts and Culture Programs, please visit the Foundation's website at AirportFoundation.org. There you will find information about MSP's visual and performing arts programs and events. A few signature projects are featured below.
The Aurora, the custom-designed, signature artwork for MSP’s Terminal 1 departures hall, is now complete. The artwork, created by internationally-renowned artist Jen Lewin, represents the natural light phenomenon that occurs in the northern night sky during certain times of the year – often referred to as the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis.
Also part of The Aurora and nestled into the floor of the baggage claim level, is an 18-foot-wide interactive grouping of reflective glass platforms, loosely depicting public lakes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area including Lake Phalen, Como Lake, Lake Nokomis and Lake of the Isles. People standing on the lake platforms or moving within the lake floor will be able to trigger changes in the colors beneath their feet, and at the same time trigger wisps of color changes in the structure above.
Existing at the intersection of art and technology, The Aurora is a 29-foot-tall, 720-pound experiential sculpture in which both human interaction and weather factors create swirling patterns of color and light. The title of Lewin’s work references the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights—naturally occurring light phenomena that are visible in the northern sky during winter months. Inspired by the beauty and complexity of these organic light forms, Lewin programmed The Aurora to change color based on the weather in Twin Cities area. Below the framework are eight platforms that respond to touch, encouraging visitors to actively participate in an ever-changing composition. Uniting nature, humanity, and technology, The Aurora underscores the dynamic interactions between people and environment.
About the Artist
Jen Lewin is an internationally-renowned artist known for her large-scale, technology-driven artwork, including another interactive work, the Sidewalk Harp, in downtown Minneapolis.
More of Jen Lewin’s work can be viewed at these links:
Instagram: instagram.com/jenlewinstudio/ | @jenlewinstudio
Facebook: facebook.com/JenLewinStudio | @ArtistJenLewin
Twitter: twitter.com/jenlewin | @jenlewin
Located between Gates C18 and C19 in MSP's Terminal 1, the see18 Film Screening Room is the first state-of-the-art cinema in any major U.S. airport. It features around-the-clock short films and award-winning documentaries to offer respite for MSP travelers.
The short films run continuously in the screening room, but can also be viewed online at the Airport Foundation MSP’s website. The content has been curated into four sub-topics: an overview of Minnesota’s land and history, the diversity of cultures and culinary arts, individual artist profiles, and stories of resilience and healing. Many of the videos were produced by TPT, the local Public Broadcasting System affiliate, but some have more national scope, including a TED Talk collection. All the films are close-captioned, and the space is wired with a telecoil/Assisted Listening System to provide people who use equipped hearing aids greater accessibility.