Minneapolis – Saint Paul International Airport Art Installation - CODAworx

Minneapolis – Saint Paul International Airport Art Installation

Submitted by Philip Noyed

Client: Arts@MSP, MSP Airport Foundation, MSP International Airport, MAC

Location: Bloomington, MN, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $70,000

Project Team


Philip Noyed

Philip Noyed Arts


Dave Currie

Dave Currie Arts

Industry Resource

Dan Kujawski

Ideallic Acrylics


Joel Stromgren

Miller Dunwiddie Architects


Created 3 Major Installations for MSP Airport: The Leap of Joy – 25' LED angled light box with images mounted on acrylic that springs into 25' curve of diamond images that culminate in an aluminum Leaper with covered with holographic vinyl. The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is a a 60' wide by 6' high LED light box with photographs mounted on acrylic chevrons with a Rainbow Diamond of clear acrylic rods lit by LED lights going through rainbow colors. L'Etoile du Nord (North Star) is a 6' aluminum piece covered with holographic rainbow vinyl.


The overall goal was to surprise and delight travelers at the MSP Airport with art that brought a sense of wonder, joy and peace. The space of the airport is purely functional with rectilinear forms and subdued colors. I wanted to bring colors and forms to activate the space. The Leap of Joy was initially just to be on the wall, but I wanted to have the sense of flight moving into open space above travelers. So, I created the 2D angle going upward and then spring into 3D space with diamonds following the course of an airplane turning and culminating with the Leaper. This curved mobile activates the space and light from the windows pours through the images to have the travelers touch color directly. This art installation was meant to be iconic of air travel. The fact that the Leaper is gender neutral and rainbow colored was intentional so that all people could see themselves able to take the quantum leap forward in their life. The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and L'Etoile du Nord are both iconic of Minnesota.


This project was like creating a full-length feature film with many people and organizations involved from start to completion. Once I understood the spaces available for the art, I created digital and 3D renderings of my installation concepts. I worked with the Airport to understand specifications based on building codes. I worked with an acrylic fabricator, sign installation company, 3D renderer, aluminum fabricator, printing company able to both print the images and use a computer router to cut the acrylic to form and a lighting company. I also worked with the architect firm to develop accurate 3D renderings within the space. I worked with the sign company and the airport construction teams to install the artworks. I found that as an artist, I needed to be equal parts visionary and project manager of all these teams.

Additional Information

Art, for me, is more than decoration. I wanted the installations to mean something to travelers. L'Etoile du Nord is on the Minnesota State Seal (since 1863) and I wanted people to see it as a beacon of freedom with the meaning that anybody of any race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation are welcome here (rights enshrined in our state constitution). I also wanted the art to be accessible for children to people from other countries to see The Leap of Joy and for them to see the magic of travel and leap forward in their lives.