Striking new pieces by British architectural glass artist Martin Donlin and commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art are being installed at the Scottsdale Airport Aviation Business Center.
The works include a tall stained-glass window, titled “Sun and Moon,” and two massive glass panel installations, titled “from Land and from Air.” They feature imagery and maps relating to Scottsdale and the surrounding desert environment as well as poetry by Ofelia Zepeda, a member of the Tohono O’odham Tribe; Natalie Diaz, a member of the of the Mojave and Gila River tribes; and Richard Shelton, emeritus Regents Professor of English at the University of Arizona.
Donlin’s work can be found around the world, from Germany, Japan and Kazakhstan to U.S.-based projects in Michigan, North Carolina and Texas, among many other locales. His small- and large-scale glass artworks have been installed in a variety of spaces, from the sacred to the secular, from substantial and busy public buildings to intimate spaces for prayer and reflection.
Although Donlin lives in Brighton, East Sussex, on the southern coast of England, his artworks typically have a sensitivity and relevancy to their own environment. They are a response to both the architecture where they are installed and the building’s surroundings. The glass pieces will liven up the Scottsdale Airport Business Center with their bright colors, local poetry and transparent images that represent the desert terrain and lifestyle of Arizona.
While researching the Valley for these works, Donlin visited a variety of locations, including the Desert Botanical Garden and the Heard Museum, to learn about indigenous cultures and native plants and animals. Those influences are found throughout all three pieces via the poetry, designs of plants and animal tracks, maps of the early Hohokam canal system, images of the McDowell Mountains and references to the necessity — and scarcity — of rain.
Donlin will visit Scottsdale for a free artist talk on Thursday, Oct. 18, from 7–8:30 p.m., in the SMoCA Lounge at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St. He will speak about his previous work as well as the airport pieces, which were fabricated at Glasmalerei Peters Studios in Paderborn, Germany, and shipped to the United States for installation at the airport.
“from Land and from Air” comprises 30 individual pieces of glass. A panel on the upper level of the Aviation Business Center includes 15 pieces of glass, while a separate panel on the lower level also has 15 pieces. The glass for these panels is digitally printed and sandblasted. Meanwhile, “Sun and Moon” is a single piece of antique stained glass. The installation was scheduled to be complete by Friday, Oct. 5.
The new artworks will be celebrated as part of the grand opening of the Aviation Business Center on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 3–6 p.m. The Aviation Business Center is located at 15000 N. Airport Drive, Scottsdale.
Visitors to the grand opening celebration will have the opportunity to experience the airport through interactive displays, tours of the buildings and activities for kids and adults, including scavenger hunts, a poetry exercise and the chance to create your own “stained-glass design” with squares of cellophane.
The celebration will also include entertainment and refreshments courtesy of Volanti Restaurant and Scottsdale Hangar Events. While the event is free to the public, attendees are asked to register. For more information, visit ScottsdaleAZ.gov and search for “Aviation Business Center.”