29 Local Artists Showcased at Brand New Terminal A at Newark Airport

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Unique art installations by 29 local artists part of $2.7 Billion transformation of Terminal A into a world-class, state-of-the-art facility with 21st-century technology.

As part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $2.7 billion redevelopment program at Newark Liberty International Airport, the new Terminal A will showcase the work of 29 local artists with unique art installations to create a transformative customer experience offering a distinctive New Jersey sense of place, the agency announced today.

The innovative public art program supports the Port Authority's overall vision and plans to transform the customer experience across all its facilities, including Newark Liberty, through inspirational public art, operational excellence, 21st-century technology, and world-class functionality. 

The goal of the art program is to transform the terminal into a civic space and artistic center that reflects the creativity, innovation, and diversity of New Jersey and the region.

“Unprecedented in its magnitude and potential impact, Port Authority’s transformation of Terminal A will result in a space that is quintessentially New Jersey,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “The new public art installations on display at Terminal A emphasize that Newark Liberty is not just a driver of regional economic activity, but an internationally recognized landmark within a culturally rich and inclusive landscape. There’s no better way to emphasize the value of such diversity and cultural exchange than by showcasing the work of local artists who represent the very best our state has to offer in terms of talent, innovation, and vision.”

“The newly redeveloped Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport will amplify the best of New Jersey,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Not only will the upgraded and expanded systems and facilities be more efficient in keeping with our innovation ecosystem, but the breadth and depth of New Jersey innovation, arts, history and culture will be on display welcoming millions of travelers annually and showcasing our diverse and inclusive state.”

“We want our airports not only to provide best-in-class 21st-century functionality but also to be inspiring and appealing as travelers move through them,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Public art installations by local artists have become a signature feature of Port Authority airports not only to uplift, but also in the case of Terminal A, to provide a New Jersey sense of place.”

"The community-driven art in the terminal stands as an expression of the commitment of both the Port Authority and Munich Airport International to identify and elevate the talent of local artists to amplify a unique passenger experience," said Lutz Weisser and Lorenzo Di Loreto, Munich Airport International Group's managing directors. “Not only is this a way to support local artists by providing a space to showcase their works, but it also gives travelers a New Jersey sense of place.”

Anchoring the new Terminal A’s comprehensive art program are two ambitious permanent public art installations created by artists Layqa Nuna Yawar and Karyn Olivier. Spanning the public spaces of the new arrivals and departures halls, the new site-specific installations pay homage to the vitality, unique history, architecture, people, and character of New Jersey.

Working closely with the leadership of the Port Authority and terminal operator Munich Airport NJ, Public Art Fund invited a select group of artists to develop site-specific proposals for original permanent commissions in the new arrivals and departures halls that capture the essence of New Jersey.

After a thorough evaluation of all proposals by a panel that included the EWR Terminal A Art Advisory Council — comprised of members of the statewide arts community and led by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (Arts Council) — Layqa Nuna Yawar and Karyn Olivier were awarded the permanent commissions.

Yvonne Onque

“When a major new airport terminal not only brilliantly serves its function but also captures the unique spirit of a place, it becomes a truly civic space,” said Nicholas Baume, Artistic & Executive Director of Public Art Fund. “Newark Liberty International Airport’s new Terminal A thoughtfully achieves this with its two spectacular site-specific permanent commissions by Karyn Olivier and Layqa Nuna Yawar.”

Complementing the two large permanent installations are 27 works by local artists — eight of whom are from Newark and Elizabeth. Their artwork will be displayed in the digital welcome banner spanning the departures area, along with artists and photographers whose work will be rotating throughout the terminal.

For these rotating installations, the EWR Terminal A Art Advisory Council proactively reached out to New Jersey artists for submissions in several categories: digital, photography, and diptych.

During a six-month process, the committee reviewed the candidates and based their selections primarily on the artwork, the artist’s New Jersey roots, and connection to the cities of Newark and Elizabeth. The Advisory Council presented their selections to the Port Authority and Munich Airport NJ for final decision.

“At the NJ State Council on the Arts, we believe public art is central to the community and cultural identity,” said Danielle Bursk, Director of Community Partnerships & Artist Services and Chair of the Arts Council. “Our partnership with The Port Authority of NY and NJ at Newark Liberty Airport provides an invaluable international platform for local artists to showcase their work, while also celebrating the vast and diverse stories and communities throughout New Jersey and the region. We’re honored to provide more opportunities for millions of people to have meaningful arts experiences as part of their everyday lives.”

An additional permanent installation by Talley Fisher of Bellefonte, Pa., is located at the pedestrian bridge connecting the new Terminal A with the new garage and rental car parking facility. Inspired by the ocean adjacent to New Jersey, Fisher’s art installation is a series of sculptures comprised of abstract water elements floating over the heads of those traversing the pedestrian bridge.

The Port Authority and Munich also contracted with Moment Factory — a multimedia studio specializing in video, lighting, architecture, sound, and special effects for immersive environments — on digital installations throughout the terminal.

Located at the heart of the terminal, the “Forest of Firsts” is a display of New Jersey-centric multimedia pylons celebrating the Garden State’s firsts in multiple areas of human accomplishment, including science, literature, energy, and film innovations.

Additional installations include the welcome banner, a large format “NJ” sculpture, and the digital pylons in the passenger holdrooms. New Jersey-centric themes can also be found throughout the terminal, such as New Jersey Road Trip; Location, Location, Location; A Warm New Jersey Welcome; and True New Jerseyans.

The artists’ installations will be unveiled with the opening of the new Terminal A this week.

Redeveloping Newark Liberty

The art installations are part of the Port Authority’s vision to transform Newark Liberty into a world-class gateway for the New Jersey/New York region. The next phase of this transformation will be developed through the work of the recently selected world-class airport master planner to develop a vision plan for the future redevelopment of the airport.

In addition to the replacement of Terminal A, Terminal Redevelopment Program at Newark Liberty International Airport includes associated roadway and airside improvements and a new parking garage.

Once completed, the new 1 million square foot terminal will be 20 percent larger than the existing Terminal A, the outmoded terminal it will replace. Designed as a “common use” terminal, all gates in the new terminal will be utilized by multiple carriers, which will increase flexibility and efficiency and optimize operations.

The new terminal will accommodate an estimated 13.6 million passengers annually on three levels. A covered pedestrian bridge will provide direct terminal access for passengers to the public parking garage and the new centralized rental car facilities.

The new Terminal A is expected to generate more than $4.6 billion in regional economic activity, create more than 23,000 job years and provide more than $1.9 billion in wages. As of June 2022, the Terminal A program had awarded 94 sub-contracts to minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) totaling more than $1 billion and 92 sub-contracts to New Jersey firms for $213 million.

Newark Liberty currently provides jobs for approximately 19,250 people directly employed at the airport. It contributes more than $29.3 billion in annual economic activity to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region, supporting more than 128,000 total jobs and nearly $10.8 billion in annual wages.

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