Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Orlando International Airport (MCO) hopes travellers will take a moment to enjoy the calming benefits of art.
And they won’t have to look far to do so, because the latest public art installation at MCO is right underneath their feet.
MCO recently unveiled the fourth in our series of large-scale terrazzo flooring sections inside the Main Terminal – just in time to greet more than two million passengers traveling through the airport over the holidays.
Creating a sense of place
Inspired by a garden theme, each floor section celebrates a unique aspect of Central Florida’s culture, economy and way of life.
These landmark murals create four “gardens” themed around wellness, fun, technology and space – featuring images such as a roller coaster, space shuttle and orange blossoms set amid swirling splashes of colour.
The designs signify our region’s rich agricultural history, emerging technology sector, aerospace industry, and world-class attractions.
South Dakota-based, international award-winning artist Scott Parsons created the designs, showcasing the vibrancy and energy he found in Orlando.
Each piece measures 28 by 32 feet and is fabricated from epoxy terrazzo in a wide range of vivid hues and sparkling metallic inlays. The designs blend realism, abstract geometric shapes and fluid lines to instill a sense of place for travelers as they enter the airport.
In addition, their prominent location and eye-catching design help travellers to navigate the facility.
The value of public art
For MCO, public art serves purposes far beyond decorating our facility. As a growing number of airports have discovered, art enhances aesthetics, promotes relaxation, assists with wayfinding and supports a community’s branding identity.
As a world-class international airport, we strive to provide a seamless travel experience that anticipates passengers’ needs while imprinting the art, culture, and natural beauty of the region. It’s part of our overarching goal to extend 'The Orlando Experience' to every visitor.
Over the decades, MCO has built an extensive public art collection — one of the largest in the Southeast United States. From sculptural installations to photography, the collection features a wide range of artistic mediums.
In addition to the new terrazzo installations, the facility features a series of vivid floor mosaics, titled Field of Ferns, Florascape and Florida Vacation.
One of our most talked-about installations is The Traveler, a hyper-realistic statue of a sleeping man next to a duffle bag.
Created by sculptor Duane Hanson in the 1980s, the piece looks incredibly lifelike, but is made primarily of bronze.
About half of the artists featured in our collection have roots in Florida. One of our newest additions was created by local sculptor Barbara Sorensen. Her three-dimensional piece Ripples evokes the swells of water seen in our region’s thousands of lakes.
It is displayed at the entrance to the North Terminal Automated People Mover station that connects to the South Airport Complex.
Making art accessible
Throughout the collection, our goal is making art accessible to everyone who visits. As a gateway to the world’s top family tourist destinations, we serve many busy travellers who don’t always have time to visit artistic venues.
The airport is a natural setting to showcase our community’s diverse arts and cultural activities – and extend the vacation experience a bit longer.
In addition to displaying fine art, we host a range of concerts and performances throughout the year to highlight our region’s performing arts organisations.
As MCO continues to expand to meet the needs of travellers – having seen record-breaking passenger growth and expecting to reach 47 million annual passengers before year’s end – growing our art collection will be a priority.
We’re excited about opportunities to showcase new artists and be innovative with our collection in the new South Terminal Complex, which is currently under construction.
By creating a sense of place, we hope to inspire enduring memories of Central Florida from the moment that travellers step off the plane.
And for residents travelling to other destinations, we want to evoke pride in the vibrant, beautiful region we call home.