JIA 1 Of Best Airports To Be Stranded In

London Observer Cites Art That Covers Airport's Interior

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If you're stranded at any given airport, there's not much you can do except for try to get comfortable and catch up on some sleep or catch up with a few friends. But if you're stranded at Jacksonville International Airport, you can spend a few hours contemplating fine art.

The London Observer ranked JIA as one of the best airports in which to be stranded.

It's what's on the walls inside the airport that has people talking.

"Oh, it's lovely here. It's lovely," said Chicago resident Patricia Kreuger, who was traveling at JIA on Monday.
The ranking is largely because of an area called the Haskell Art Gallery, which is said to be the largest of its kind in the U.S.

"Many people have come to the gallery and sent me an e-mail after the fact stating that a painting made their day," said Cabeth Cornelius, who works at the art gallery.

Cornelius said airport art is a growing trend internationally, but Jacksonville's airport was one of the first to institute an arts program back in the '90s.

Now, art is all around the airport, even in the bathrooms.
"I went to Washington, Dallas and Indianapolis, and neither one of them had an art gallery," traveler Yari Smith said. "In fact, this airport (JIA) made my expectations high for them and they failed."

While those who live in Jacksonville might take a finely decorated airport for granted, out-of-towners really do seem to notice.

Rebecca Cali, who works at an airport in Italy, said there is not much art in her airport.
"I just told him about how nice this airport is," Cali said.
"It ads to the ambiance and soothes the nerves," Cornelius said of the art.
Being delayed is never a good thing, but at least the art gives travelers something to do.
"To say to people: 'This is who we are as a city. We are very exciting, diverse, dynamic,'" Cornelius said.
There are only four airports in the world that made the list of best airports in which to be stranded. The others are London's Heathrow Airport, Seoul Airport in South Korea and Amsterdam's Airport Schiphol, which is linked to the national museum.


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