Runway Project? What Runway Project? - Indianapolis International Airport (IND)

Digital Issue:
Digital Issue
Runway Project? What Runway Project? - Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
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A slightly three-dimensional mural near the entrance of Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is putting an entirely new spin on construction fencing. Transitions uses abstract representations of checkered racing flags and other local icons to obscure the view of reconstruction work occurring on Runway 5R-23L.

Local artist Jackie Head used Put-In-Cups, a plastic product typically used for school spirit displays, to create the roadside attraction. Two assistants and a cadre of volunteers from IND helped Head execute her intricate design by snapping more than 300,000 of the brightly colored pieces into the long chain link fence. After months of work, they unveiled the massive 14,000-square-foot mural in late October 2022, sunburns and sore fingers already healed.

Head explains that her bold geometric design was largely inspired by the carpeting at IND’s former terminal (which was installed to greet visitors flying in for the 1987 Pan Am Games). “I grew up on the west side of Indianapolis about 10 minutes from the airport, and I have really vivid memories of that rainbow carpet and what a magical experience it was to visit the airport and see it,” she told local media. “I just wanted to make something like it that was very vibrant and exciting… something that would captivate both children and adults alike.”

With the $190 million runway project expected to continue at least through fall 2024, IND plans to display Head’s mural for two to three more years. When the fencing for the project comes down, the plastic pieces used to create the mural will be reused or recycled.

At the artwork’s unveiling, Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, noted that Transitions is the largest outdoor exhibit of its kind in the U.S. It also demonstrates the Authority’s commitment to public art and local artists. 


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