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About Art + Flight

Art+Flight closed January 7, 2024.

Aerospace enthusiasts vividly remember when they fell in love with flight. For some it is the memory of sensation. The sound of a droning plane, the sight of crisscrossed farmland far below, the sweet yet acrid smell of a warm aircraft engine, the rumblings of a rocket launch, or the feeling of gravity’s firm grip and release in flight. For others it is interconnectedness that is made possible by flight.

The way it shrinks incomprehensible distances and connects us both to our loved ones and the world beyond our everyday routine, whether that’s a new culture or a new planet. For most people, the wonder of flight is indescribable, or the technology behind it overshadows the magic and joy. Enter the artist. The Museum-wide Art+Flight project offers sculpture, painting, photography, installation, and new media, to realize our feelings, enhance our perceptions, and remind us of the awe and joy of flight through the materiality of art.

This exhibition explored a vast range of topics. From artists like Joe Nix, whose mural in the Great Gallery captures his familial connection with the blue-collar history of Seattle aviation, to Rik Allen, who creates playful and impossible glass flying machines, to RYAN! Feddersen, whose installation sparked a meditation on our collective responsibility regarding the accumulation of space trash.

a collective of different artworks presented on a gallery wall.

Technology and collaboration are intrinsic to the world of aviation; here artists explore the themes in many ways. Jeffrey Milstein’s aerial photographs of airports evoke a matrix of metallic veins and organs, and flowing within them is us—traveling, working, waiting and dreaming. Harriet Salmon, artist-in-residence, begins her art with actual aircraft structures and transforms them using traditional ash and willow panel weaving techniques. Salmon’s collision of old and new technologies (and their histories) results in beautiful new meanings that neither of them could have achieved alone. Jeffrey Stenbom’s Freedom’s Threads speaks to a different kind of collaboration, service in the armed forces. Suspended in the World War II Gallery of the Museum, this work is reimagined and spun from the fabric of uniforms that literally touched the lives of military aviators.

Perspective is another theme explored by artists in the exhibition. Flight shifts our perspective, sometimes allowing us a new way to see the world, and sometimes demanding it. The view from above can bring us closer to humanity or summons our loneliness. Michiko Tanaka’s intimate artwork elicits this sentiment through her depiction of the lights of Tokyo at night—a city of 14 million people captured within an 8-inch square. Similarly, Janet Darcher’s quilted vision of snowy Greenland from an airliner at 35,000 feet offers us the icy, rugged beauty of the glaciers in the form of a cozy heirloom.

Flight astonishes us and gives us the opportunity to enter previously unknown spaces. Art is another kind of vehicle, one that carries us to new realms of creativity. Art and flight are tied to sensations of sight, sound, the feeling of our own body in space, and to our mind’s eye. Art+Flight uniquely brings these innovative fields together and allows us to evolve the conversation.


Art+Flight was a museum-wide, community-focused celebration. Art+Flight exhibited artwork in all mediums, and offered interactive mural painting, music, dance and plenty of family activities. Guest speakers and engaging community events regularly enhanced the celebration from June 10, 2023 through January 7, 2024.

The exhibition ran from Saturday, June 10, 2023 through Sunday, January 7, 2024.

Flight has been a subject for artistic exploration dating back to DaVinci’s time. More recently, artists have used air and space travel as inspiration for creating works in a variety of media. The “marriage” of these two subjects provides an opportunity to connect our region’s vibrant art scene with its rich aerospace history and collaborate with the community and work towards breaking down barriers, part of our commitment to becoming an even more diverse and inclusive space.

We put out a Call for Artists and a Request for Proposal for three of the display areas in the Red Barn Special Exhibits Gallery (Artist in Residence, New Media Installation and Group Show) These artists and the works on display were reviewed and selected by an external Selection Committee comprised of five local curators:

  • Katie Buckingham, Curator, Museum of Glass
  • Elisheba Johnson, Co-Founder and Curator, Wa Na Wari
  • Emily Kelly, Executive Director + Curator, MadArt
  • Shamim M. Momin, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Henry Art Museum
  • Tariqa Waters, Curator of Martyr Sauce & Artist

The artists for the larger installations were selected by a Steering Committee comprised of several Museum of Flight staff members.

31 artists are participated in the exhibition.

Art+Flight was mixture of 2D and 3D art featuring photography, mixed media, acrylic, sculpture, digital, video, audio, fabric, and more.

An Artist-in-Residence is a collaboration between an artist and The Museum of Flight. The Artist was onsite for a select number of days to showcase their art and actively create and interact with visitors. The result was an installation on the walls of the Northwest Aeroclub Room.

New media art refers to all forms of contemporary art made, altered, or transmitted using new forms of media technology. The installations for Art+Flight were digital and iterative experiences for visitors. The resulting artwork was an immersive installation in a light controlled environment.

The exhibit is now closed. But we hosted a full calendar of events, including lectures, panels, a Fashion Show, art festival, a community art mural, special 21+ evening events and more.

Art+Flight closed on January 7, 2024.

For further questions regarding Art+Flight, please reach out to