ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s airport is getting international recognition for more than just aviation. The Sunport’s exhibits have put it in the top nine around the world for airport art, and they say this is only the beginning.
An extensive collection of classic lowriders and hot rod motorcycles are just part of the art collection the Sunport is being recognized for. With dozens of pieces based in Native American, Hispanic and Southwestern culture, the airport says they’re not surprised by the feature, but are honored.
“It doesn’t surprise me. New Mexico is an amazing arts community. It has been for a very long time,” said Max Baptiste, art curator at the Sunport. “I think it’s really good for the city, the state to be recognized for that because we are such an art mecca. The Sunport, I feel, is one of the best airports from an architectural standpoint, so it’s already a beautiful airport, and to be able to add art and get it recognized is just a major honor.”
The Sunport was recently featured by ‘Artdesk’ going up against major airports like Paris, Amsterdam, Vancouver and even New York’s JFK. The article recognized Albuquerque’s airport for the ‘Lowriders and Hot Rods’ exhibit showcasing Northern New Mexico’s car culture, while also taking note of the 100+ piece permanent art collection displayed throughout the airport.
Many pieces that are part of the lowriders exhibit were contributed by members of the community. Baptiste says the Sunport’s art collection gives an insight into our culture, not only for visitors but for locals, as well.
“What we’re really trying to do here is create a sense of pride and place and I think airports are a great spot for that,” said Baptiste. “It’s good for locals to see their local art community, but it’s also good for travelers to learn about what’s going on in a community as far as art goes.”
Baptiste says it’s important for the community to have this connection to the airport and says it represents more than just Albuquerque.
“I think it’s great that we get to involve the community in the art program. It’s not just me and it’s not just the airport. It’s really the community-at-large who’s being on display and being represented here,” said Baptiste. “I think that’s really amazing, and I think it’s a step forward for Albuquerque and our state.”
The pieces that are currently with the ‘Lowriders and Hot Rods’ exhibit will be on display through the holidays before they are switched out, so there’s still time to see them. KRQE News 13 asked Baptiste if there are any new exhibits in the works for the Sunport, and while he does have ideas, he can’t reveal them just yet.