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A New Arts Master Plan


Sheena Rae Dowling

This is an exciting time at San Diego International Airport. If you’ve been to one of the airport terminals lately, you can’t help but notice all of the new construction taking place, whether it be a parking plaza or an international travelers processing center. But have you also had an opportunity to see Dazzle the new e-paper technology artwork on the exterior of the Rental Car Center? Or happened upon a dance performance by this year’s local performing arts residency group transcenDANCE?  Maybe you have been able to stop in for a mindfulness session in The Spirit of Silence, the public art meditation room in Terminal 2?

Photo by Kevin Walsh

The Arts Program at SAN has been hard at work on many projects, and one of the most recent is the creation of a new Arts Master Plan.  The previous master plan was completed in 2006 and provided guidelines and policies for the program’s three core components:  Public Art, Performing Arts, and Temporary Exhibitions.  The plan also outlined opportunities for artists to create permanent work that was site-specific and integrated into the infrastructure of the airport’s built environment, specifically focusing on the “Green Build” of the new Terminal 2. In addition, the plan ushered in the first performing arts programs in the airport and provided framework for the exhibiting of artwork and cultural displays on a rotating basis.  Overall, the 2006 plan focused on the Arts Program’s ability to enhance the traveler’s experience and to present arts programming that reflects San Diego’s sense of air, light, and place.

Since 2006, the Arts Program has grown both in its permanent art collection and its annual exhibitions.  It has also redefined how the airport traveler experiences the airport, with everything from a first-of-its-kind performing arts residency program and live concerts, to educational programs with local schools, and special partnerships with community arts groups to Grammy winners.


Now the Airport has a planning process in its sights for the redevelopment of Terminal 1.  Along with new facilities comes the opportunity for an even broader view of what arts at the airport can mean.  It is now time to embark on a new arts master planning journey.  We would like to ask for you, the larger community, to interact with us.

Get Involved

We invite your participation in the planning process through our opportunities for public input. Over several months, we will have people in the terminals and at curbside asking for a few minutes of your time to respond to a survey about the Airport Arts Program. These face to face surveys are great way to help us understand what you like best about the art at the airport as well as what you’d like to see, hear or experience in the future.  We also have an online survey to receive your input.  Please get involved!