Airport tower set for butterfly artwork
SPRINGDALE — A recently approved art piece intended to enliven Springdale Municipal Airport and highlight an at risk butterfly was discussed by city leaders, Monday.
The discussion was held during the City Council Committee meeting. Mike Abb, creative director for Runway NWA, a Bentonville-based group focused on community enrichment, presented the idea of putting a monarch butterfly art installation on the airport’s tower.
“Essentially what we’re doing is we’re redefining how the airport looks from
the tower,” Abb said before the meeting. “Airports generally have a bad wrap because they’re physically imposing. They don’t appear to be public places, but they very much are.”
The art, which will be done in September by San Francisco-based Ink Dwell Studios, was approved Thursday at the Airport Commission meeting. Mayor Doug Sprouse was at the meeting.
“I thought it was a real exciting project and the Airport Commission agreed,” Sprouse said. “This is in the
Airport Commission’s purview, but the commission wanted to be sure everyone was okay with it.”
Alderman Kathy Jaycox and Alderman Jim Reed spoke in support.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” Reed said.
The idea originated in early 2016 when Summit Aviation, a fixed-based operator at the airport, met with Runway.
Abb said he was asked to find a way to make aviation more visually appealing to Northwest Arkansas residents.
“The tower was identified as one of the great places where we can make a statement or a message because
of its’ size and direct relation to downtown, the Razorback Greenway and the elementary school right next to it,” Abb said. “I said what we should do is make it educational and something tied to the area. And I said wouldn’t it be cool if it had to do with nature and also had to do with flight.”
Abb said he spoke to Ink Dwell about their Migrating Mural initiative, which is designed to give greater exposure to species at risk of extinction.
The Eastern, migratory population of the butterfly of the monarch butterfly has declined by 80 percent over the last decade, according to a Scientific Reports article
published on www.nature. com.
“We felt like the monarch butterfly system was the ideal species to highlight because of the role they play in an agricultural ecosystem,” Abb said. “The butterfly’s flight is a bonus feature in that it is going in a place that specializes in flight.”
The art will be made of pieces fabricated at Ink Dwell. The project will cost about $25,000 and is being paid for by a private Northwest Arkansas donor, Abb said.