The Airport Art Program at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport develops and integrates art, exhibits and performances into the fabric of the Airport environment for the benefit of passengers and employees. The Art Program has three major components: commissioning artists to create site-specific artwork, presenting rotating exhibitions, and scheduling performing arts series.
David Vogt, Airport Art Program Manager, is the driving force behind much of the success the program has had with both its beautiful art installations and amazing exhibits throughout the airport. After many years of discussing the possibility of bringing the National Arts Program® to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, David was finally able to make it so in 2012.
We are so pleased to be able to collaborate with David, who is such an advocate for the arts, to bring forth the talents of the employees. David is diligent and thoughtful in his execution of the show and always treats the participants work with great respect. The show this year looked absolutely fantastic in its dedicated space and is a testament to the often unrecognized artistic talent that surrounds us. We would like to thank David and his team for another fantastic exhibition. When we reached out to David for feedback on the show and its impact at the airport, here is what he had to say…
Q. What makes the National Arts Program® different from any other art exhibit at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport?
A. Most of the exhibitions we showcase are curated so the artists have typically attained some level of critical acclaim. The NAP exhibition offers artists of all skill sets the opportunity to exhibit their work in a professional setting.
Q. Why do you feel that displaying employee artwork is important?
A. The NAP employee exhibition helps to foster a greater sense of community among our work force. Airports are about making connections, connecting passengers with their destinations, bringing together family and friends, so an exhibition that allows employees to share their artistic talents with their co-workers and the traveling public is ideal.
Q. How have employees and their families responded to the opportunity to display their artwork in the airport?
A. There has been a great deal of excitement among the participating artists about having their artwork exhibited in the world’s busiest airport. There seems to be a general sense of gratitude among the employees that the National Arts Program® developed this program and supports it in so many locations.
Q. Why do you think displaying artwork in this setting is so important?
A. Artists may create artwork in solitude but they usually want a forum to share it with others. This program fills a unique niche by allowing artists of all skill levels the chance to have their work showcased in a public venue. I believe the NAP exhibits fuels employees and their family members to continue making art and fosters their artistic exploration.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the National Arts Program®?
A. Receiving the artwork and meeting the artists is always enjoyable. It is great to see the diversity of artistic expression and witnessing the level of excitement among the artists. The overall experience reinforces just how amazing the act of creating art can be and that no matter what skill level there is always more to learn.
Q. Do visitors to the airport respond to the employee exhibit?
A. Yes, we regularly see passengers as well as airport employees checking out the exhibition. Another positive indicator is that multiple artists from both of our NAP exhibitions have sold artwork to passengers or other employees. Due in part to the NAP exhibitions we have observed a greater sense of awareness about our Rotating Exhibitions Program among the airport’s work force. This has resulted in an increase in the number of art program advocates we have here at the airport.
Q. How has utilizing online registration made the process easier for you?
A. The online registration is a greener more user friendly approach. It makes it much easier to administer the program and communicate with the participants.
Q. How did you hear about the National Arts Program®?
A. Before becoming one of the Art Program Managers here at Hartsfield-Jackson, I managed the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs’ NAP exhibitions.
Q. What prompted you to join the National Arts Program® and bring this opportunity to the employees and their family members?
A. Having administered the NAP program while at Cultural Affairs I saw firsthand the many benefits of the program. We had wanted to bring the NAP to the airport much sooner than we did but the timing was off on our end. Now that we have a little bit of momentum we know that the NAP will become a tradition that employees will look forward to!
Q. How did you get started in the art field or have you always been involved in the arts? Are you an artist yourself?
A. At an early age I recall that creating pictures was one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time. As I got older my interest only intensified. After undergraduate and graduate degrees in studio art I was hired to manage the City of Atlanta’s public art program. While getting my degrees I did not envision a career in arts administration. My path was more of a meandering one that revealed itself as I moved forward. I am thankful that my humanities education prepared me for this career and that select individuals along the way saw enough promise to provide me with the opportunity. I still create art as it is core to who I am but working as an art administrator limits the amount of studio time that is available.
Q. Is there anything else you want to add? Comments about the program, etc.
A. Participants have commented positively about the NAP online gallery and are thrilled to have the chance to post images and possibly be spotlighted.