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Ford International Airport announces new opportunities for local artists

Grand Rapids—Calling all West Michigan artists: The Gerald R. Ford International Airport will be seeking submissions for original art installations to showcase in its $110 million Concourse A expansion.

Thanks to support from the Frey Foundation, the Ford International Airport will continue to invest in a variety of local artists to feature the diverse talents of West Michigan through its public art program. The Airport’s design team has identified three types of opportunities for integrated art within Concourse A, including custom terrazzo flooring, suspended art and wall art.

“Through our art program, we strive to curate a unique sense of place that resonates with our community,” said Tory Richardson, Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority president and CEO. “As the gateway to West Michigan, we are always looking to showcase the immense talent that exists in our region, from the lakeshore to urban core.

“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with the Frey Foundation on our public art program. Their vision to expand access to art within the greater community resonates deeply with us, and we’re honored to partner with them on this mission.”

The Concourse A project—part of the Elevate capital expansion program to enhance the Airport’s facilities and infrastructure—is designed to reflect the culture of the region. This $110 million expansion will more than double the length and width of the existing concourse to meet the growing passenger demand for air travel. New dining options, amenities, such as an executive lounge, and retail options will be located throughout the 90,000 square-feet of new space.

Designed by architect Jorge Barrero of HKS, Concourse A will mimic the experience of arriving in West Michigan, from the blue of Lake Michigan and natural tans of the sand dunes to the greys and purples of the urban core to the greens of the forests and farmland in between, with local art playing a significant role along the way.

“The Frey Foundation is thrilled to support the Ford International Airport as it expands its art program and opens new opportunities for local artists,” Frey Foundation President Holly Johnson said. “Through our continued partnership, we want the West Michigan artist community to know their work will provide a world-class experience to Airport guests.”

Artists interested in submitting a proposal can do so for three different categories:

Terrazzo flooring: Inspired by the landscapes of West Michigan, four highly visible areas will allow direct interaction with passengers as they navigate the concourse.

Suspended art: Located directly above the four terrazzo flooring locations, suspended art will be intentionally visible from many angles, creating a sense of circulation.

Wall art: Several walls within the concourse will serve as backdrops for artwork. These walls are located adjacent to passenger boarding and gathering areas with high visibility.

To assist with art selection and installation, the Airport has contracted Katie Moore to serve as its new art manager. Moore has nearly a decade of experience in art management and community engagement roles. She previously held roles at ArtPrize and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.

Artists interested in submitting proposals can find more information flyford.org/elevate/opportunities. The first category that is now open for submissions is for terrazzo flooring installations. Submissions for suspended art and wall art will open later this year.

The Ford International Airport is home to several installations from West Michigan artists, including:

Aankobiisinging Eshki-kakamigak, Jason Quigno

Chickens Don’t Fly too Much, Reb Roberts

Flying Colors of the United States, Alexander Calder

Ford Statue and Presidential Gateway Plaza, J. Brett Grill

Model of La Grande Vitesse (by Alexander Calder), model by Joe Kazlauskas

President Ford Mural, Paul Collins

The Great Blue, Nick Nortier

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