Public Art Meets Sustainability in Texas


Airway is a renovation of existing infrastructure that creates a gateway to the El Paso International Airport and downtown El Paso, Texas. The installation includes an array of 50-foot-tall, functional, illuminated wind turbines with customized radial armatures paired with sequences of low illuminated sculptures and arched planters hosting native trees and plants. The project promotes sustainability, incorporating renewable energy, xeriscaping, and programmable LED lighting for celebrating the seasons and community events.

The artist, Vicki Scuri, drew inspiration from the airport, the name “Airway,” the wind, the mountains, native plants, and the commercial/industrial site characterized by oil tanks, gas stations, hotels, and restaurants. The dynamic site has a mountain backdrop visible from many vantage points, and the work captures the essence of place, creates a landmark, and offers a unique aesthetic expression.

The lighting for the Airway reflects the seasons—blue and green in spring, green and orange in summer, orange and purple in fall, and purple and blue in winter. The color sequences represent a pattern structure similar to a quilt or a Mexican blanket.

The artist, the design team, and the contractor collaborated seamlessly, which made it possible to accomplish a very ambitious project in two-and-a-half years. The El Paso community has also embraced the installation, voting it Best Public Art Display in the Best of the Border 2014.

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