The student art contest called for work inspired by the book “Nobody Owns the Sky." (Pittsburgh International Airport)

Contest Adds Children’s Aviation-Inspired Art to Terminals

The art program at Pittsburgh International Airport includes world-renowned names like Alexander Calder and Andy Warhol, rotating exhibits featuring long-established artist collectives and even work made with elements of the airport itself.

Now it will feature the debuts of the next generation of creative spirits.

In September, PIT launched its first-ever call for original art from local children. The contest called for work inspired by the book “Nobody Owns the Sky,” the story of Bessie Coleman, the first licensed African-American pilot.

A month later, a group led by Aviation Educator Teresa Clark and Arts and Culture Manager Rachel Rearick chose three winners each from three different age groups. Their artwork will be displayed digitally throughout the terminals.

“We were a little unsure about what kind of response we would get, because this was the first time we were doing this and the pandemic made it a little more complicated,” Clark said. “But the response from schools and families was just tremendous.”

Not only do the nine winners join an accomplished roster of artists already represented at the airport, but they’ll also get a private virtual tour of the world-class art program which now contains their work.

Rearick said the children will also take part in a private master class with a notable Pittsburgh artist.

“The contest wasn’t just about adding new paintings and drawings to additional locations throughout the terminal,” Rearick said. “We want to encourage children who dream of becoming artists, and we hope that aviation can be an inspiration for them.”

The airport plans to stage similar contests in the future, Clark said.

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