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October 9, 2019
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February 4, 2020
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Public Art Conservation

As an Arts Program coordinator at San Diego International Airport, and with the support of my colleagues one of my primary functions is to ensure our public art collection is kept in excellent condition.

Public art conservation at SAN presents many different challenges because of the security layers we have at the Airport Authority and the number of people that are constantly passing through the terminals. Our professional conservator uses all types of non-abrasive cleaners, such as water, microfibers, and gentle dusters. The maintenance is paramount to ensure the lifespan of the 51 Art Collection pieces. Conservators are experienced in caring for collections in museums, archives, and historic properties.

Our Contracted public art conservator Rosa Lowinger and Associates has been maintaining the Airport Art Collection for many years. Rosa’s technicians have the experience and education necessary to tackle any type of challenge the public art encounters.

Jim Campbell’s The Journey is one of the largest public artwork pieces in the Airport and our most challenging one to conserve. This ribbon of lights covers 750 feet in the Terminal 2 West concourse and it holds custom electronics and 37,000 LEDs. “The work is the my largest public art piece to date, and is suspended from the ceiling to create an undulated plane to guide passengers from the security area into the gate area in Terminal 2. The ribbon of light seems to float eleven to twenty-eight feet overhead- an airy apparition you can see right through”, as the artist described the work.

It takes four people from our conservator’s team, working three and a half weeks overnight to clean The Journey. This work requires precision and patience as well as a lot of coordination with other departments such as Operations, Facility Management, and the Access Control Office. My job as a Coordinator is to ensure everything goes according to plan from the beginning of the project until its completion.

I hope you will check out this on-going Arts Program blog from time to time (Tony’s Blog), it is meant to give you an insight about the visual arts and performing arts at San Diego International Airport.

Tony Almanza,  Arts Program Coordinator