Famed Eugene Airport “Flight Patterns” currently soars through the halls of the David Joyce Gallery
Famed Eugene Airport “Flight Patterns” currently soars through the halls of the David Joyce Gallery in Building 19. Photo by John Hughes / theTorch

After much debate, the final decision on where the airport installation “Flight Patterns” should land is still uncertain. Eugene airport is currently undertaking a substantial construction project that began in fall of last year and is projected to be finished by the end of this summer.

Security will double in size, said Cathryn Stephens, Assistant Airport Director. This entails tearing down many walls, building a new restaurant, moving escalators, elevators and stairs.

“In this construction project, we knew that part of a wall some of the ‘flying people’ were on, would be impacted,” Stephens said. “We would have to come up with a solution to protect that art work because art and construction don’t mix that well,”

The solution was to reinstall “Flight Patterns,” colloquially called ‘flying people,’ at Lane’s David Joyce Gallery in Building 19. The week long process was headed by Susan Detroy, gallery exhibit designer and director. In all, the installation is made up of over 180 pieces and are arranged in a much smaller space than they are intended to be.

“What really struck me when I came in and saw the display here at Lane was it seemed to me there were more [pieces] than I perceived in the airport,” art instructor Kathleen Caprario-Ulrich said.

Caprario-Ulrich is also part of the installation. She was photographed in 1988 “flying” with her two-year-old son after responding to a community call by Joyce.

“What I think is so wonderful about David’s concept is, not only do I see myself and my child … I see various people that I’ve known over the decades. It makes it very personal,” she said.

Alongside “Flight Patterns” is another exhibit, “Taking Flight: A Visual Voyage.” Thirteen Lane instructors were selected to have pieces in the show coordinating with ‘flying people,’ said Detroy.

Caprario-Ulrich flew out of Eugene Airport the afternoon “Flight Patterns” was taken down. She said she feels as though the airport is missing personality. “It seemed very bland,” she  said. “It could be any airport in any small city anywhere in this country.”

“It really is a greeting. I see this piece as Eugene’s handshake. It’s like the “Hello”, the handshake for the community … it’s a welcome,” Caprario-Ulrich said.

A final decision on the destination of “Flight Patterns” will be reached near the end of construction. The airport will not know more until they have physical walls. “It’s really hard to visualize … the configuration will be quite different,” Stephens said.

Until then the David Joyce Gallery will house the installation, which is open to the public free of charge.

  “The airport and city and administration …will make the [final] decision,” Detroy said.