At-risk monarch butterfly the subject of public art at Springdale airport

by Jennifer Joyner ( 372 views 

This rendering shows a Migrating Mural art installment planned for the tower at Springdale Municipal Airport.

The Nature Conservancy, Ink Dwell art studio of San Francisco and the Downtown Springdale Alliance have chosen the tower at Springdale Municipal Airport as the setting for a public art installment that is part of a series focused on the migration of monarch butterflies and their declining population in North America.

The Migrating Mural project is kicking off in Springdale and at locations in Miami and Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 30, and from there the artists will over a three-year period install original artwork featuring monarchs along the butterflies’ migrating paths between Mexico and Canada, according to a summary of the project put out by Ink Dwell.

A piece featuring monarch butterflies and a caterpillar arranged in the shape of an infinity sign is planned for the 80-foot airport tower in Springdale.

The peak monarch migration period each year in Arkansas is late September to early October, according to Monarch

“The goal of the campaign is to create beautiful and monumental public art while telling the story of the spectacular wildlife around us. The monarch butterfly has one of the most unique migration behaviors in the animal kingdom but their population in North America has dropped nearly 90% over the last two decades,” Ink Dwell co-founder Thayer Walker said in an email to Talk Business & Politics-Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is reviewing a petition to place monarch butterflies on the endangered species list and is due to make a decision June 2019, according to its website.

Project organizers aspire to partner with trucking companies and airlines on an idea to create original artworks on vehicles. They also plan to launch a billboard campaign around the Migrating Mural project.

Artist and Ink Dwell co-founder Jane Kim has painted a 6-foot-by-3-foot version of the mural, which will be photographed and the high-resolution image will be enlarged and transferred to a 50-foot-tall fabricated rendering comprised of vinyl and aluminum that will be installed on the tower.

AMP Sign & Banner of Bentonville will fabricate the piece, and Walker said the method was used because of the “sensitive nature” of the location. Walker projects the installation will take about a week, whereas painting directly on the tower would take longer.

Ink Dwell creates large-scale public art focused on wildlife and the natural world, according to its website. It has produced work on display at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y., National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

The first Migrating Mural project features the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, which appears in a series of six murals along state Highway 395 in California, according to Ink Dwell.