Brett Smith had a vision for his new $40 million-plus airport in Everett.
He wanted it to be different from what’s become the norm at airports — noisy, crowded, hectic — an ambiance with all the decorum of a middle school lunchroom.
“Air travel has become a stressful, non-enjoyable experience,” said Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports, which developed the terminal and operates commercial flights at Paine Field. “A lot of care and thought went into bringing civility back to air travel.”
Part of his plan was to have art installed around the 30,000-square-foot terminal and to include airline memorabilia in a glass display case inside the terminal.
“Art just adds to the whole vibe of the terminal and the experience,” he said.
Here’s a look at the four new art and history installments at Paine Field:
Lt. Topliff Olin Paine sculpture
The bronze sculpture is front and center to the terminal entrance, which is named in honor of Topliff Paine, the Everett High School graduate who served in the Army Air Corps from 1917 to 1919.
Smith commissioned Dillon Works in Mukilteo to create the full-body sculpture.
That work began with a 12-inch clay mock-up of the sculpture, called a maquette, by Dillon Works employee John Douglass.
Production of the sculpture took about seven months, said Mike Dillon, Dillon Works president. Paine’s family members provided closeups of his face and other photographs of their ancestor.
The sculpture was cast at Classic Foundry in Seattle.
Smith said he decided to commission the sculpture because of the rich history at Paine Field. “I think it’s critically important to incorporate that into the experience and the terminal,” he said. “I’m a big believer of recognizing how we got to where we are.”
The aptly named 2,500-pound steel sculpture is the first piece of art you see as your drive up to the terminal’s parking lot. It is one of two sculptures donated to the airport by Smith’s family.
“It was something my dad really liked,” Smith said. The big red check mark is indicative of “getting things done; being efficient,” he said.
This piece, as well as “Aurora,” was created by Nova Mihai Popa, who escaped from Marxist-Leninist Romania in the 1960s and who died in 2009.
Look for the 1,000-pound blue sculpture with rounded circular forms at its top and bottom that look somewhat like commas to the left of the terminal. Both “Aurora” and “Red Check” were purchased by Smith’s father, Robert Howard, who died in 2014. “It was important for me to have something of him here,” Smith said. Both sculptures were put on permanent loan to the airport by his mother, Kit Howard.
The walnut-and-glass display case in the airport’s waiting area holds historical items related to Paine Field, such as photographs of a visit by World War I fighter ace Eddie Rickenbacker, Smith said.
There also are portions set aside for historic pieces from the two airlines that have flights from the airport, Alaska and United.
Brent Malgarin, of Edmonds, whose father was a United captain, donated pieces belonging to his late father, including his 1960s captains pilot hat, Smith said.
There’s more to come. The dress cap worn by Lt. Paine, on loan from Paine Field, will be installed in a special display case. Smith said he hoped to have it added to the terminal in the next several months. Plaques will be installed soon with the name of each sculpture.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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