CLT Art Program

​Every year, millions of travelers to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) are greeted by the CLT Airport public art program, initiated in 1990 to enhance the passenger experience while promoting the City of Charlotte and the surrounding region. The program now consists of over 20 artworks and exhibits originating from a variety of sources that include donations and loans from private groups, direct funding from the Aviation Department, and allocations from the City of Charlotte Public Art Ordinance. As the Airport is a self-sustaining enterprise fund, revenues from Airport user and vendor fees help fund the CLT Art Program. No tax payer dollars are used. The City contracts with the ASC for operational management of the Public Art Program.

Raymond Kaskey, Queen Charlotte, 1990, bronze.


 Ed Carpenter, Ascendus, 2012, stainless steel, glass, aluminum. Photo: Mitchell Kearney

The first artwork commissioned for CLT Airport is Queen Charlotte by sculptor Raymond Kaskey. The 15-foot tall cast bronze figure provides a dramatic impression of Queen Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg—the Queen City's namesake—carried aloft by the wind. She extends her crown toward approaching visitors as a welcoming gesture. The artwork was commissioned and gifted to the Airport in 1990 by private philanthropic group Queen's Table.

Queen Charlotte was relocated* to its current and temporary location between the East and West Daily Parking Decks in January 2013 due to the construction of the new Hourly Deck and Consolidated Rental Car Facility and the forthcoming elevated roadway and terminal lobby expansion.* Once projects are complete around 2020, the goal would be to move the statue back to a more public viewing area, possibly inside the terminal.  

On August 31, 2012, Charlotte City Council and the Arts & Science Council (ASC) dedicated Ascendus—a 60 foot tall celebration of flight made from stainless steel, laminated glass and aluminum. Designed by internationally-renowned installation artist Ed Carpenter and fabricated almost entirely in Charlotte, the landmark sculpture is prominently displayed at the juncture of Billy Graham Parkway and Josh Birmingham Parkway. It is the largest public artwork in Mecklenburg County.

The most recent addition to CLT Airport's Art Program is Old Growth, a 40-foot tall, 20-ton sculpture made from Cor-Ten steel by Asheville, N.C. based artist Hoss Haley, named the 2016 Master Metalsmith by The Metal Museum of Memphis. The abstract branch structure suggests the majesty of a giant oak and is a tribute to the city's pride in its tree line. "My intention was to make a sculpture that had the same kind of presence as a big tree and get that canopy over your head," said the artist. "I was after that sensation you get when you're underneath, where it's at once very comforting but also very powerful."


Other notable artworks that can be enjoyed inside of the terminal include a series of six murals in cut aluminum by Béatrice Coron called Postcards from North Carolina (viewable from the escalators between Ticketing and Baggage Claim); a clock tower and kinetic sculpture celebrating the history of aviation called First in Flight Mobile by George Greenamyer (located in the Atrium); and Vulcan's Gate by North Carolina Award-winning abstract painter Herb Jackson (located in the waiting rooms at the end of Concourse D).

Hoss Haley, Old Growth, 2015, Cor-Ten steel. Photo: Nancy Pierce

Béatrice Coron, Postcards from North Carolina, 2007, cut aluminum.

Béatrice Coron, Postcards from North Carolina, 2007, cut aluminum.

As CLT Airport undergoes several capacity enhancement projects, the art program will continue to grow with ambitious new artworks funded by the City's Public Art Ordinance, which stipulates that 1% of all eligible capital projects—including aviation projects—be allocated toward public art. CLT Airport is owned and operated by the City of Charlotte and, as such, contributes to this fund. 


For more information about the CLT Art Program, please email

*Art subject to relocation during renovations and construction.