Beautiful Miami International Airport Art

Miami International Airport Art

Christopher Janney's Harmonic Convergence can be seen at the MIA Mover Station - Skyride Connector

Photo by Robin Hill
Model Airplane
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By: Shayne Benowitz

Miami International Airport is home to one of the world’s most impressive collections of public art.

Welcome to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami—these are signs you expect to see upon arrival at Miami International Airport. What you might not expect is the breadth and scope of the airport’s museum-quality public art on display. Think, sculptures of marine life swimming in snowflake-like constellations by Donald Lipski and Michele Oka Doner’s landmark terrazzo floors awash in mother of pearl and cast bronze sea creatures spanning a half mile stroll through the terminal.

The History of the Art in Public Places Movement

Nearly 40 million passengers come through Miami International Airport annually making it quite the arena for public art. Since 1973, MIA has been a trailblazer of airport art through Art in Public Places, a countywide capital improvement initiative that invests 1.5 percent of the cost of all new county construction, in public artworks, which are site-specific, permanent and integrated with architecture. Due to MIA’s large construction program, it is currently the largest user of Art in Public Places in the County. The works are curated to enhance the terminal environment by entertaining and educating travelers while distracting them from the stresses of modern-day air travel.

All We Need Is Love
"All We Need Is Love" found in North Terminal D by Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar

Find Artwork Inside and Outside of MIA

With miles of terminals, catwalks and bridges, the airport makes for a unique venue for site specific installations. Much of the work is integrative and interactive, so you may not even realize that you’re walking through a work of art. Christopher Janney’s “Harmonic Convergence” transforms the MIA Mover Station Skyride Connector into a prismatic rainbow with the sun shining through diamond-shaped tinted glass windows.

Even the airport’s exterior “Noise Abatement Wall” on NW 36th Street is a work of art developed by artist-architect Martha Schwartz in Miami Modern curvilinear lines and portholes. Similarly, the Central Collection Plaza’s road is paved in pastel undulating waves inspired by Miami’s light and water by artist John David Mooney.

Florida’s unique ecosystem is represented in many installations, including Brad Goldberg’s “Coral Eden,” made of two 90-foot tall stone walls with macro photographs of brain coral imprinted on them.

Carybé mural
Hector Julio Paride Bernabo - Carybé found in South Terminal H on level 2

Explore the MIA Galleries Rotating Exhibits

MIA Galleries is the airport’s arts & exhibitions program. Founded in 1996 and organized by the Division of Fine Arts & Cultural Affairs, MIA Galleries enriches the airport environment through the commission of contemporary artwork and the presentation of rotating exhibitions that communicate culture, environment and art resources of an international scope.

One of the most recognizable art installations is found in North Terminal D. The architect-artist duo of Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar have constructed an enormous word art sculpture made of flowers that reads “PEACE & LOVE".  

MIA Galleries provides six exhibition venues. In the North Terminal, “The Eye Has To Travel” Gallery features contemporary art, Camera Works Gallery showcases photography, and “D31” displays work from local artists and exhibitions from partnerships with organizations in Miami-Dade County. In the South Terminal, “The Hall of Aviation” explores various aspects of flight and aviation, while the “MIAmi Gallery” features screen works by local video artists and filmmakers. 

The next time your plane touches down in MIA, don’t forget to look around to get a taste of Miami’s art and culture before you even leave the airport.

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