Over an Arkansas Sky creates the experience of an Arkansas landscape unfurling on the floor beneath travelers as they move through the airport’s pre-security lobby. Like airplanes flying overhead, visitors look down over native plants, birds and insects representing all of the state’s regions and ecosystems. Visitors can follow the arc of the Arkansas River or migrate across the space with the butterflies. Grounded by the compass plant found in the central circle, travelers find their way as mockingbirds celebrate the magic of flight and native plants and insects entwine in a visual dance of appreciation of Arkansas’s natural beauty.
The title of the artwork is a tribute to Arkansas poet laureate Jo McDougall’s 2010 anthology Under an Arkansas Sky with the location changed to share the perspective of passengers flying overhead.
The terrazzo floor was fabricated using nearly fifty different mixes of stone aggregate, some including materials such as mother of pearl and recycled glass for added visual texture. Fabricators, Missouri Terrazzo, used metal spacers to “draw” outlines for individual colors then pour aggregates into the compartments.
Over an Arkansas Sky depicts sixteen types of insects, twelve types of plants, and one type of bird. The artist drew from the advice, suggestions, and impressive photographs of many Arkansas environmentalists and scientists to develop the design and render the images for the artwork, sometimes using exaggerated colors to highlight an insect’s markings.
Special thanks to the following people and institutions for sharing their expertise:
Johnny Carroll Sain, Nature Writer; Dr. Chris Kellner, Fisheries & Wildlife Science, Arkansas Tech University; Dr. Eric Lovely, Department of Biological Sciences, Arkansas Tech University; Joe Neal, Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service; Lori Spencer, author of Arkansas Butterflies; Dr. Donald Steinkraus, Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas and Joe Woolbright, Ozark Ecological Restorations.