Artwork from 17 Moab-area artists has been curated throughout the Canyonlands Field Airport terminal. Thirty-nine artists submitted 108 art pieces to be considered for the initial exhibition that began in June. New artists will be rotated in the gallery every six months. [Photo by Cha Tori]

An exhibition of Moab’s creative culture is now at the Canyonlands Field Airport.

When the airport celebrated the grand opening of the new terminal in June, a new art gallery was unveiled inside the terminal that features a rotating selection of Moab-area artists.

The art is made in a variety of mediums, including photography, felted wool and oil paints.

Moab City Council member Karen Guzman-Newton is on the Grand County Airport Board. She is chair of the board’s Art Committee, and took the lead in putting together the first exhibition for the gallery.

She said some of the goals of creating the new gallery are “to create a public gateway to the Moab and Grand County art scene and local culture” and “to enhance the travel experience and support local artists.”

Thirty-nine artists submitted 108 art pieces to be considered for the exhibition.

An eight-person committee, with members recommended by local art supporters, selected a few works by each of the 17 artists chosen for display. The featured art is rotated every six months with new artists and artwork. The art is also for sale to the public.

“It will be difficult to let go of the art,” said Guzman-Newton. “All the pieces are so beautiful.”

The airport might not have to say goodbye of every work of art — funds from the art sales may be used to purchase some permanent pieces for the gallery. The airport receives a 25 percent commission from any artwork sales.

Artist Esty Pinto has lived in Moab for four years. She takes her artistic cues from the cryptic images left by ancient artists on the desert’s canyon walls.

“Two Snakes,” one of Pinto’s pieces featured in the gallery, is her ink and paper response to the visual marks left by inhabitants of the past.

“I was really inspired after seeing petroglyphs for the first time,” Pinto said. “I wanted to create a pattern of symbols, animals and people to express my admiration for rock art.”

Pinto’s other work in the show includes a large, colorful acrylic painting illustrating the different terrain, animals and human activities found in the Moab area.

“In my work,” Pinto said, “I’m trying to show my admiration for this unique and strange desert … I hope people can feel the freedom of a fantastical world inside my art.”

Also an admirer of Moab’s natural environment, artist Julia Buckwalter makes large oil paintings on canvas, mostly of landscapes and skies.

“Clouds speak to me,” Buckwalter said of her artistic inspiration, “so I spend a lot of time watching them, observing their variations.”

One of Buckwalter’s pieces in the gallery, called “A Day With the Clouds,” is an example of her colorful renditions of clouds. To some people who view it, the clouds appear to be moving on the canvas.

“I’m often told my paintings feel like windows in people’s homes,” she said.

Buckwalter finds creative stimulation in various ways.

“Long drives fill me up with ideas, watching the weather and landscapes change,” she said.

She is excited to show her art in the new airport venue.

“I think it’s wonderful, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have my work seen,” Buckwalter said. “I remember always looking forward to seeing Anton Rasmussen’s Delicate Arch painting at the Salt Lake City airport when I was young. When you travel the world and its airports, you see airports used as public theaters for art … public places should always incorporate art for the people.”

Rosie Boone, co-owner of Desert Thread, a yarn shop downtown, has four felt pieces on display in the airport gallery.

“We have a lot of talented folks in the area, and the airport is a great venue for sharing with visitors and locals alike,” she said.

Boone’s artwork is made of wool and silk fiber in a process called “wet felting.”

“I use water, soap and agitation to encourage the fibers to intermingle,” Boone explained. “Once the fibers are adequately intertwined, the fulling process begins. I rub and drop the piece to encourage the fibers to shrink and become fabric. The fulling process is permanent, and the resulting fabric is very strong.”

Boone said she loves the experience of creating objects out of fiber.

She said, “I often get lost in the process.”

Airport terminal becomes public gateway to art scene

“When you travel the world and its airports, you see airports used as public theaters for art … public places should always incorporate art for the people.”

Where: New terminal at Canyonlands Field Airport, 110 W. Aviation Way

When: Airport hours

Cost: Free

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