'Sweet Spot' With Mike Sugerman: Bringing The Arts To LaGuardia Travelers

July 12, 2018 - 6:57 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Recently, WCBS 880’s Mike Sugerman walked into LaGuardia Airport Terminal A – also known as the Marine Air Terminal – the old, pretty one with the huge World War II-era mural by James Brooks.

Sugerman came across a chalkboard reading, “We will write you a story… ask us!” The booth apparently used to house a newsstand, but now has a sign in front of it from the Queens Council on the Arts, 2018 Artport Artist Residence.”

So he went up to the booth and asked the woman behind it, “What is this?”

“So we are part of an artist residency program through the Queens Council on the Arts and the Port Authority,” Lexie Smith told him.

Smith is one of the artists. So is Gideon Jacobs.

“Basically people come up to us, tell us their flight number and point of contact, and from the moment they walk away, we have till they land – which we think of as our deadline – to write them a new and unique story,” Jacobs said.

The program is called Landing Pages. Like the mural and statues and other art work at the terminal, it is paid for by the government – just like it was during the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.

“This space will be constantly occupied by an artist from Queens who has a very interactive, engaging, compelling project that is designed to transform somebody – a traveler’s experience in this airport through art,” said arts council director Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer.

Krakauer is in charge of this generation of government funding, at least in Queens. The next exhibition at the terminal will be from a sound artist who will make what she calls a sound map of LaGuardia, so you can tell what it sounds like it all different parts of the airport without being there.

As for the current installation, Smith handed Sugerman a ticket promising a story number that would be waiting for him when he got home. And indeed, there it was in his email – even though it was actually written on an old-school electric typewriter.

The story itself? It was a good one, but Sugerman is keeping it to himself. It’s his own piece of government funded art.​