The 27-year-old Daytona Beach International Airport terminal is in the midst of a $14 million renovation that is both growing and slightly shrinking the taxpayer’s art collection. The county has set aside $65,000 for new art.
DAYTONA BEACH — Rushing toward the terminal at Daytona Beach International Airport, a hurried traveler might not notice much of anything except the departure and arrival times on the walls. But look closer, and the airport’s nooks and crannies burst with color and creativity.
From an abstract alligator sunning itself on a beach in Stephen Danko’s “Serious Fun,” to the delicate onion skin paper folds of Akiko Sugiyama’s “Happy Waves,” the 20 pieces of art at the airport were all purchased in 1992 as part of the Art in Public Places program.
[READ MORE: Former Volusia teacher donates art collection to schools]
[READ MORE: Find out more about the County’s Art in Public Places Program]
Now, the 27-year-old terminal is in the midst of a $14 million renovation that is both growing — and slightly shrinking — the taxpayer’s art collection.
Some pieces are being folded into the airport’s new look. Some will be moved to the Ocean Center and other art works, damaged over the years and now sitting in storage, are set to go to auction.
Meanwhile, the county is looking for more artists to help brighten the walls of the airport with images that flow with the building’s new look.
The Volusia County Council has allocated $65,000 for six new art pieces. The county’s Cultural Council put out the call for artists Christmas week, inviting Florida artists to submit two- and three-dimensional works of art for possible display.
County staff is hoping for a strong showing.
“We want as many artists to submit their work as possible in the… call,” said Volusia County parks director Tim Baylie, who oversees the Cultural Services Division and the arts programs. “Because the more artists’ submissions, the better quality of work we’re going to get.”
The airport is actually where the Art in Public Places program got its start back in 1990, when the Volusia County Council established the program.
The effort, which came on the heels of the $47 million project to build the airport’s current terminal, established a funding for procurement of permanent art in county-owned and operated buildings.
Since then, government rules mandate that between 0.5% and 1% of the construction price for all new, expanded and renovated publicly accessible county buildings must be set aside for the acquisition of artwork for permanent display.
So far, according to county data, more than $1 million has gone to purchasing nearly 200 pieces of art, including the airport, where the county purchased 20 artists’ works in 1992 for $162,440.
But with the remodel underway, not all of the existing art fits with the new look, and earlier this month, the Volusia County Council voted to take staff’s recommendation on how to maneuver the 27-year-old artworks that, in some cases, had been in storage for more than 20 years.
According to county documents, a kinetic sculpture that New Orleans artist Lin Emery originally created to move with the wind and cost taxpayers more than $52,000 barely survived six years on display.
After a short time, part of the sculpture broke off and the artist fixed it, and some cracks appeared and Emery fixed those, but then the initial piece that broke off came off again.
After several years of back and forth between the county and the artist, by 1998 an engineer estimated repairs at between $30,000 and $40,000. Too cost prohibitive to fix, and a liability risk for the county should they continue to display the art, the Emery piece was tucked into airport storage, where it’s stayed for 21 years.
“It wasn’t forgotten,” said Baylie. “(But) you couldn’t do anything with it. You can’t fix it and you can’t, you know, give it to somebody, because of the regulations in place.”
So a few years ago, DeLand artist John Wilton started a push to do something with the Emery piece in the hope that it might again see the light of day. The effort resulted in a sort of arts-evolution program — the county refers to it as the “art deaccession program.” The 2016 ordinance made it possible to move county-purchased art around where it might fit better and, in some cases, dispose of damaged art. Recently, the Volusia County Council gave staff the go ahead to do what they felt was best for the county’s art during the airport renovation.
“The problem we have is that nothing lasts forever and we have to be adaptable,” said former county manager Jim Dinneen at the time.
Now, “Currents” will head to the auction block in the hope someone might want to repair and display it.
In an email, county spokesman Kevin Captain said a date has not yet been set for the auction, but it would follow the county’s normal procedure and the auction company will be George Gideon Auctioneers, which holds all its auctions online.
“To me, it was just a shame that it’s been sitting in storage,” said Wilton, who serves on the cultural council that helps choose art for the Arts in Public Places program.
Another damaged piece, Jane Hubbard Jennings’ $7,000 aluminum sculpture, “Earth Spirit in Continuum,” will also be auctioned, and Steve Howell’s earthenware clay relief “Heaven, Man and Earth,” which the county purchased for $20,000 and was made specifically for the curved walls of the airport, could be irreparably damaged upon removal.
Do people buy broken art?
“Surprisingly, I know of at least two parties that are interested in bidding on it,” said Wilton of the Emery sculpture. “Somebody could come and bid on it and sell it for scrap, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Other county airport art, however, will merely be moved, like Wilton’s acrylic and mixed media scene called “Daytona.”
“I was happy to find out my piece wasn’t being deaccessed,” said Wilton, chuckling.
And soon enough, five more pieces may be joining “Daytona” when the airport renovation is complete in December 2020, said the airport’s Deputy Director Karen Feaster.
“The whole theme of the project is Coastal Ecology, to fit with Daytona Beach,” said Feaster, explaining the streamlined new look, how the art will be displayed and what the county cultural advisory board will be looking for when reviewing artists’ submissions. “We’re still working out where it’s all going.”
County Cultural Services Director Robert Redd said interested artists will be able to submit their work for consideration soon.
“Airport staff has signed off on the call for artists — the physical document itself. We just have to do some tweaking to it,” said Redd. “It’ll go on the county website. Obviously, we will be sending it out to as many art organizations, artists, professional groups that we know.”
Baylie said the airport will be a great place for artists to showcase their talent.
“I would think that if I’m an artist trying to get my name out there,” said Baylie, “I would be encouraged to have my artwork displayed in a public venue where a lot of people are going to be traversing.”
Artist submissions, which can be in any style or medium, are due Feb. 14.
“The work does not have to be thematic, but the selection committee welcomes submissions that incorporate design elements of aviation or sun, sand and surf,” said community information specialist Pat Kuehn in a press release announcing the call.
For more information about the submission process and requirements, visit www.celebratingculture.com/aipp.htm or contact Robert Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 386-736-5953, ext. 15872.