By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer
Waco Regional Airport is currently undergoing renovations with an expected completion date in August 2023, according to Waco Regional Airport operations manager Cody Mathis.
Waco Regional Airport is a conduit for both locals and tourists. Over 2.6 million people visited Waco in 2018, and the airport has served 118,049 passengers, according to its website.
Mathis said the renovations, which started on Aug. 1, were planned to last a full year with an approximate cost of $8 million.
“It’s a modernization project,” Mathis said. “It’s just to update the inside.”
Amanda Dyer, director of public art and development for Creative Waco, said the City of Waco got a federal grant and some separate city money for the terminal refurbishment to include public art. As a result, the local nonprofit is currently working on four pieces of public art.
“Waco understands the importance of public art and how it brings a positivity to our community,” Dyer said.
One of the four pieces Creative Waco is commissioning is “Welcome to Waco,” which includes a community collaboration aspect. While the other pieces will be created by an artist or a team of artists, Dyer said this one will include contributions from the entire Waco community.
The piece invites members of the Waco community to submit the phrase “Welcome to Waco” in their languages of origin, which Dyer said is done either by typing the language they want to share in the form or by drawing it.
“If they’re feeling artistic or if they want to share their handwriting, they can write back as its own artwork,” Dyer said.
The contributions will be combined into a design by a local artist, who will be hired upon winning a competition with their concept for the piece. According to Dyer, the final product will showcase different languages in one big, collaborative piece of art, which will then be printed onto a wrap and put on the glass panels in the airport.
Dyer said Creative Waco is looking for people from the Baylor community to participate in the piece and will be accepting contributions until Nov. 16. She also said local artists should keep an eye out for a call to do the design.
“This kind of collaborative artwork showcases [that] a wide range of people and cultures are represented in our community,” Dyer said. “To people who are coming to Waco for the first time or haven’t been here a long time, the airport is such an important point of arrival and departure in our community.”
Dyer also said having public art like this in Waco shows how diverse the community is.
“It shows that [Waco] is very welcoming and comforting to people who are coming from all over the world,” Dyer said.