The removal of a row of old payphones at the Valdosta Regional Airport left behind a decent sized white wall—a blank canvas for a local artist to paint a mural.
Valdosta’s Public Art Advisory Committee, funded by the city of Valdosta, promotes the arts in the community through the purchase, placement and maintenance of public art.
“We also encourage private entities to place public art for the benefit of the community,” said PAAC Chair, Bruce Smith.
The freshly painted mural, done by Ethan Abbott, was unveiled on Feb. 21 in the airport’s baggage claim area.
“This mural is going to provide a warm greeting to all who travel through the airport—locals as well as those who aren’t familiar with the community,” Smith said. “It’s going to show them that we truly have a healthy and thriving arts community in Valdosta and Lowndes county.”
The piece of art is symbolic of Valdosta and its community, with each letter of “Valdosta” containing some aspect of the city’s iconic events and people.
“I have never seen anything quite like this before, as far as how the letters are done,” said Airport Manager, Jim Galloway. “We are really happy to have this mural in our airport.”
Though this mural is the first in the airport, the PAAC has placed 15 public art pieces in the local area, and Smith expressed that they wish to see more public art displays in the airport, as well as throughout the community.
“It’s an honor to be here, and I want to thank the PAAC for the work they do in this community, said Valdosta Mayor, John Gayle. “It’s an amazing what [the PAAC] does to promote the arts, which also promotes Valdosta’s economic development.”
Abbott is honored to have his art displayed in the airport. “I do this for a living so to me it’s just another job, but then seeing everybody [in attendance], including the mayor—the turnout kind of blew my mind.”
Abbott’s mural work can be seen around town at places including Hug In A Mug Coffee Company, Klutch, Big Nick’s, and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.