Indy Airport Ditches Art for Ads

WISH8: If you’ve been to the Indianapolis International Airport, you’ve probably admired the artwork in the main terminal. But if you want to see an Indiana artist's centerpiece project, you’d better look quickly because it's about to be taken down.

The artwork called “Chrysalis” (left) sits at the center of one of the busiest passenger intersections in the terminal, and it was commissioned for the space where it hangs. Whether going to get your bags or just passing through, odds are you are going to see the piece.

"You go from one place to another,” said the piece’s creator, James Wille Faust. “The airport is the Chrysalis, it's between sky and earth,"

Now, the sculptural painting – which Faust said includes 14 separate canvases, 10 aluminum pieces and six sand-blasted glass panels – will be put in storage by the end of this month.

"They just announced they would be taking it down, there was no recourse or anything," Faust said.

The Indiana artist, with works known nationally, expected that his creation eventually would be replaced, but not fewer than three years after it was installed and not for electronic screens to display advertising.

"It's going to be removed for advertising space, for digital monitors," he said.

Airport spokesman Carlo Bertolini said that according to the contract with the artist, the airport is allowed to make the change.

"We really are committed to finding a tasteful balance between advertising and art,” he said. “We recognize there's a place for both of them here."

He admitted the very visible location is an important spot.

"It will be replaced by art as well,” he said of the decision to remove Faust’s piece. “But we acknowledge there will be advertising. And it is a good spot, obviously."

Faust said the airport offered to move the piece to the Indiana Convention Center. But he said it would have to be modified to do that, and that would ruin the piece. So instead, the piece will go into storage, and the electronic screens will take its place by September.

"You know, I worked real hard on this piece. I put my heart and soul into it. Like blood, sweat,” Faust said. “Now I'm going to have tears.”


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