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2017 City News Releases

Posted on: February 3, 2017

City Installs Public Art at Sugar Land Regional Airport in Anticipation of Super Bowl

City Installs Public Art at Sugar Land Regional Airport in Anticipation of Super Bowl
Sugar Land, Texas - Sugar Land’s recent installation of public art sculptures at Sugar Land Regional Airport (SLRA) is expected to enhance the experience of visitors arriving for Super Bowl LI.

The “Airport Gateway Project” is part of four new short-term projects included in City Council’s approval of the City’s first Public Art Plan on Dec. 20.

Located prominently at the State Highway 6 entrance to SLRA, the artwork is expected to welcome travelers and serve as an iconic landmark.

The artwork is called VorTEX and includes seven wind sculptures designed and hand-fabricated at the artist’s studio with heights ranging from approximately 15 to 30 feet high. The artist adds that the kinetic nature of the exhibit “creates ongoing intrigue.”

The project was selected by a panel of citizens that included art, design and aviation professionals. After a review of proposals from various artists and with the concurrence of the City’s PARCS Board, the panel selected Lyman Whitaker, of Whitaker Studio, to create a dynamic, kinetic sculpture at SLRA’s entrance. Funding for the project was approved by the Sugar Land 4B Corporation, an entity created to fund economic development and quality of life projects through restricted sales tax revenue.

“As one of Sugar Land’s first commissioned installations, this is a milestone for our Public Art Program and will always hold a special place in the future development of our plan,” said Sugar Land Cultural Arts Manager Lindsay Davis. “Other commissioned artworks have been representational and of traditional bronze. This installation merges traditional components of sculptures with semi-abstract forms. It harmonizes with the architecture of Sugar Land Regional Airport and the adjacent Imperial development. Furthermore, it is conducive with the natural landscape and tree canopy in the area. The organic forms of VorTEX provide intrigue yet make it feel at home as part of the landscape.”

The artist has extensive history with public art projects and was able to maintain the City’s goal of being ready for the Super Bowl. Airport officials expect increased business during the Super Bowl.

Sugar Land Regional Airport is an internationally recognized airport that accommodates business travelers from throughout the world. Known as the “Luxury Gateway to Houston,” SLRA accommodates the largest business jets and annually serves more than 100 Fortune 500 companies. Its close proximity to the Houston/Gulf Coast region, as well as on-site U.S. Customs service, minimizes the travel time for busy regional and international corporate executives and contributes to the economic strength of the region.

“This public art project represents an important step in the implementation of our Public Art Program,” said Mayor Joe Zimmerman. “It not only enhances the beauty of Sugar Land, but it builds our reputation as an art and cultural destination. It’s our goal to create memorable, meaningful places that are focal points for our community and enhance the appearance of our public facilities.”

Lyman Whitaker is an American sculptor living and working in southern Utah. Whitaker is known for his hand-fabricated kinetic sculptures. He and his studio have completed many large-scale public art installations worldwide. His engineering and creative ability have resulted in well received, long standing art projects. Most recently, he was selected by the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum to install sculptures within their vast gardens.

“Often I am asked if my Wind Sculptures can generate power, and my response is their job is to generate joy,” explains Whitaker. “The twist and flow of this installation, VorTEX, gives the observer a chance to check into the weather before taking flight at Sugar Land Regional Airport. Its job is to connect the viewer to the surrounding natural elements.”

Photo Caption: Pictured at Sugar Land Regional Airport is the Lyman Whitaker/Whitaker Studio art installation entitled VorTEX.
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