Art Exhibits at Sonoma County Airport

Sonoma County Airport Partners with the Arts

Photo collage from left to right: A crane lifts the bronze sculpture over the fence. Riis Burwell bolts it in place, while Airport Operations Specialist Randy Pricert looks on. Center, Burwell and Syncronetic #4. At right, Burwell cuts the ribbon while Rik Olson, Che Voigt, Supervisor McGuire, Jenniver Sloan, and Doug Pryor (Luther Burbank Home & Gardens) watch.

In September 2012, Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport, the Arts Council of Sonoma County, and the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation  celebrated an Arts Partnership to beautify the Airport and share with visitors the wealth of talent found in the cultural arts community of Sonoma County. To commemorate the partnership, a dedication ceremony was held – pictured below.

The centerpiece of the ceremony was a newly installed, 12-foot high bronze sculpture, Syncronetic #4, by sculptor Riis Burwell. Supervisor Mike McGuire, Jennifer Sloan, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Sonoma County, Che Voigt of the Voigt Foundation, and Jon Stout, Airport Manager, spoke at the dedication.

“Sonoma County is a world-class destination for wine, food, recreation and the arts. This partnership will highlight some of the incredibly talented artists who call Sonoma County home at one of our most traveled entry points, the Airport,” Supervisor Mike McGuire stated. Jennifer Sloan, who with Supervisor McGuire was instrumental in planning the partnership, commented, “We aim to lift the visibility of the arts and encourage the 7.5 million annual travelers to Sonoma County to extend their stay to experience our region’s arts, entertainment and recreation. STS is the ideal place to start.”

Future plans include an expanse of colorful plantings at the arrival gate, provided in partnership with the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, the introduction of art and educational elements into the pre-boarding passenger waiting room, and a series of banners that will line Airport Boulevard to promote the diversity of arts and innovation in Sonoma County. The bucolic Welcome sign seen above, was created by artist Rik Olson, is already in place at the arrival gate.

With 130 nonprofit art organizations, over 120 performing arts companies, just over 110 festivals, 34 performing venues, 83 museums and galleries, and over 27,000 individual artists of every discipline, Sonoma County is often said to have more artists per capita than anywhere else in California. During 2010, travel spending in Sonoma County accounted for $1.2 billion in gross revenue, $80 million in government revenue, and over 16,000 local jobs. Of that, Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation generated $243 million in gross revenue, or just over 20% of the total, and 6,445 jobs in Sonoma County.

The Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation was founded in 2005 by Al and Judy Voigt. Al and Judy founded the Foundation to facilitate the installation of larger outdoor sculpture pieces in publicly accessible places. By serving as a catalyst for sculpture installations and projects, the foundation will promote the county as a destination for art lovers. Santa Rosa artist Riis Burwell has sculptures on exhibit in Santa Rosa, Hong Kong, London, around the U.S., and in personal collections around the world, and now, at Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport.

Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz

Visitors to Sonoma County Airport are greeted by a plethora of Peanuts characters that include Lucy, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Linus. Inside the terminal, large Peanuts graphics are on view. A collection of Peanuts comic strips featuring Snoopy and his friends are on display in the area where travelers wait to board their flights.

The Airport is grateful to the Schulz family, who generously dontated the comic strips for the public’s enjoyment. To see many original works and other fascinating displays, visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum at 2301 Hardies Lane in Santa Rosa.

Charlie Brown and Linus

This bronze statue was installed in front of the Airport terminal in September 2007. Charles M. Schulz’s beloved characters, Charlie Brown and Linus, pause reflectively while passengers pass by on their way to and from the terminal. The sculpture was made by Tivoli Too, a 3-dimensional sculpture and design studio in Minnesota, Schulz’s home state. Tivoli Too also made the Peanuts on Parade statues painted by local artists and seen all around Santa Rosa.

Funding for the bronze statue came from proceeds of the Peanuts on Parade sculpture auctions held in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In September 2007, sixteen Joe Cool statues were auctioned and given a new home with the highest bidders. Funds raised from the auction went toward art scholarships as well as to the permanent bronze Peanuts statue placed at the Airport.