MSP International Airport's National Arts Program® Allows Employees to Showcase their Passions

“Check(er)mate” Alan Howell; Professional, Craft Employee; MAC

The 7th Annual National Arts Program® Exhibit at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, MN is on exhibit from November 28, 2016 through November 13, 2017. If you are passing through the airport this show is not to be missed! One example of the wonderful artwork on display is a beautiful sculpture in wood entitled ‘Check(er) Mate’ by Alan Howell. Alan (pictured below) is the senior airport architect for MSP Airport and their reliever airport system, and an active participant in the Arts@MSP/Arts & Culture program. He has nineteen years of aviation design experience and a decade of other innovative design experience to draw from as he assists and expands the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s Vision Statement “Providing your best airport experience.”  

We asked Alan to tell us more about his artwork and he elaborated on the concept behind his piece. He explained that it is a deconstructed-chessboard and part of a series of mating chess tables he developed just prior to this piece. The piece was meant to continue to challenge the idea of surface/skin and rule-based/game-theory, with a virtually unplayable sloped surface.  This series of chess inspired works that Alan has produced is part of his long-term hope to garner support for the Arts@MSP program to develop chess-boards in multiple locations throughout the airport for employees and guests to use at their leisure.

Alan also enjoys playing music and writing music and prose, and for fun, he also collects and display dirt samples from his travels. He also appreciates the opportunity to be part of support for the arts, as well as participating in the airports programs. Alan said, “The best goal that I have, and hope to continue to find support for, is for our arts program to connect our arts community with the traveling public; our program’s partnerships with local artists and nonprofit institutions is the beginning of this spectacular program.”