AC Airport opens art gallery in security area
“With Artport, our passengers now have even more to experience than hassle-free parking and quick moving security lines,” said James R. Iannone, acting executive director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which owns and operates the airport. “This program enhances the airport’s security screening area into an art gallery and is a pleasant diversion for travelers.”
The “Artport” concept is the brainchild of airport officials and area photographer Donna Connor, of Sweetwater, who in the course of her 25 years in business has taken dozens of photographs at the airport and who pitched the idea of a showcase for New Jersey artists, bringing the work of Sweetwater artist Kathy Johnston to the airport’s attention.
The official Artport gallery opening will be marked with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13 in the first floor terminal building.
“With funding for the arts continually declining, it is important to me that businesses – especially those with public spaces – provide a venue for the arts,” said Connor, who will also display some of her digitally manipulated travel-related images at the gallery opening. “In addition, I think it is vital that artists reach new audiences in non-traditional ways – and this project fulfills both those needs.”
A 20-piece installation of Kathy Johnston’s nature-inspired paintings were hung on August 31 in the first floor of the terminal building in the area where airport travelers await security clearance by Transportation Safety Administration officials prior to heading to the flight gates on the second floor.
“I am excited and honored to be the first artist to exhibit in this most unusual of venues. I look forward to visiting the Artport in the future to see the work of other exhibiting artists,” said Kathy. “Won’t it be great if this just grows nationwide and worldwide? I commend the airport staff and Donna Connor for teaming up to bring culture to the traveling public.”
Kathy Johnston’s paintings focus on landscapes, antiques and animals and have been displayed throughout the U.S. and around the world. She currently paints and holds art classes for adults and children in her home studio in Sweetwater. She sells her original watercolors at Tuckerton Gift and Décor, among other venues.
Raised in Leeds Point in Galloway Township, Kathy Johnston says she was always surrounded by nature’s beauty and appreciated texture, contrasts, shapes and color from a very young age because she was encouraged by her grandparents to describe her surroundings in detail to her father, who was blind.
Iannone said the Airport will continually display fine arts collections in the security area and is seeking artists to participate in the “Artport” program.
“This is just the beginning,” said Iannone. “The SJTA continues to dramatically expand amenities at ACY with an eye toward continued growth. Like the airport itself, Artport will only get bigger and better.”
The SJTA has made major improvements at the airport over the last several years including the installation of full instrument guidance on Runways 13 and 31, a new taxiway, improved lighting on the flight ramps, a new 1,000-space parking lot – and, this year, construction of a new baggage screening and sorting structure to house security equipment for the Transportation Security Administration and give the airlines more space for efficient loading of flights. Included in this project is installation of a second escalator near the baggage claim area, which will improve terminal traffic flow for travelers. In 2007, the authority will complete a 1,400-space parking garage to accommodate future growth.
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