Time for a Touch Up - Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Time for a Touch Up - Orlando International Airport (MCO)
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The Traveler has been amazing and amusing visitors at Orlando International Airport (MCO) ever since it was installed in 1985. The ultrarealistic life-sized sculpture often confounds passersby. Some watch intently for the weary-looking figure to move or blink, while others mutter “Is he real?” to no one in particular.

The statue, created by Duane Hanson, recently inspired even more curiosity when a professional art conservator climbed into its display case to refresh the nearly 40-year-old piece. As Diana Galante carefully cleaned the entire surface and filled in areas where paint was missing, people hurrying through the terminal stopped in their tracks to watch the mesmerizing, meticulous process.

“It’s not often I get to be part of the installation,” Galante remarked.

This was not the first time MCO has refurbished its beloved bronze sculpture. Hanson and an assistant touched up his work several times before he died in 1996. Originally, The Traveler was installed near a bar with no barrier around it. While this enhanced the sculpture’s impact, viewers often poked the artwork to see if it was actually a live person, and some threw coins at it for good luck. Eventually, the popular piece was placed in an acrylic box for protection and moved to its current location on Level 3.

The Traveler is highly representative of Hanson’s work, which typically features working-class subjects dressed in everyday garb. His technique was to cast live models and then paint the figures in exacting detail, amplifying the realism by including natural imperfections such as blemishes, bulging veins, rumpled clothing and scuffed shoes.

“My art is not about fooling people,” Hanson once said. “It’s the human attitudes I’m after-fatigue, a bit of frustration, rejection. To me, there is a kind of beauty in all this.”

But the uncanny accuracy of his work does fool viewers. When MCO unveiled The Traveler, the crowd gasped in surprise when the model for it (one of Hanson’s neighbors) stood up and walked away after sitting motionless on the floor next to the artwork for several minutes.

Nearly four decades later, the lifelike sculpture is still causing double takes.

To see a time-lapsed video of the touch-up process, visit fb.watch/pwYE5579IY/.  


2022 Charlotte Douglas International Airport Report of Achievement

Giving back to the community is central to what Charlotte Douglas International Airport and its operator, the City of Charlotte Aviation Department, is about, and last year was no different. 

Throughout 2022, while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued our efforts to have a positive impact on the Charlotte community. Of particular note, we spent the year sharing stories of how Connections Don't Just Happen at the Terminal - from creating homeownership and employment opportunities to supporting economic growth through small-business development and offering outreach programs to help residents understand the Airport better.

This whitepaper highlights the construction projects, initiatives, programs and events that validate Charlotte Douglas as a premier airport.

Download the whitepaper: 2022 Charlotte Douglas International Airport Report of Achievement.



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