In the midst of the excitement around the new KCI terminal, Kansas Citians are recalling fond memories of the old airport. A standout feature of the now-defunct terminals was the deep blue floors inlaid with brass symbols and colorful mosaic medallions, which many readers have written to us to ask about.
“I felt like I was walking into the rest of the world on those floors,” said Shelby Wells, a Missouri native and Star reader who first visited Kansas City’s airport on her way to space camp at age 11. “I was literally walking on stars, on my way to NASA. I felt like the galaxy was on my side.”
More than 40 of the mosaic medallions from the old Terminal A were repurposed for an installation in the new airport — but we still don’t know the fate of the mosaics in terminals B and C.
On Wednesday, airport spokesperson Joe McBride told The Star that the fate of the floors in B and C has “yet to be determined.”
The medallions feature a combination of geometric symbols, winged figures, colorful patterns and other designs.
The mosaics, and the blue terrazzo floor around them, were part of an art installation called “Polarities” by artists Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel. Installed in 2004, the piece was “inspired by the phenomena of flight, by dramatic shifts of perspective, and by the mapping of air, of sky and land,” the artists wrote.
For Wells, now a Waldo resident, the piece represented the interconnectedness of humanity. She hopes the medallions will be saved and shared, or at least documented for future Kansas Citians to admire.
“The floors always reminded me how lucky I was and am to live in a time of such connection and knowledge,” she said.
“The airport could literally take me into the sky and transport me anywhere in the world. It was like the floor symbolized how we are literally walking the dreams of past generations.”
Do you have a favorite medallion from the old terminals’ floors? Do you have more questions about public art installations in Kansas City? Tell the Service Journalism team at firstname.lastname@example.org.