Why Not at PDX? at La Guardia, Writers Create Fictional Tales for Fliers

There's something new at La Guardia's Terminal A: passengers arriving or departing are greeted with a piece of live, performance art. 

In a space outside security that used to be a Hudson News kiosk, the writers and close friends Gideon Jacobs and Lexie Smith, who both live in Ridgewood, Queens, have set up a writing nook with stacks of books, wooden furniture, rugs and a vintage typewriter. There they are, writing unique, fictional stories for fliers.

This specific initiative, named Landing Pages, is part of a residency program established by the Queens Council on the Arts and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs La Guardia Airport. Over the coming year Queens-based artists are taking over the airport space for three months at a time to experiment with their mediums. Mr. Jacobs and Ms. Smith are the first.

There are a few rules. One, customers must approach them. Some visitors see a sign written in chalk on a blackboard that says, “We will write you a story. Ask Us!” More often, people come up looking for the bathroom or rental car facilities. “Some days I feel like I work here,” Mr. Jacobs said. “I even have a parking spot.”

Those who choose to participate provide their flight number and contact details. The writers then draft a story for them while their flights are in the air, and text it to them before they touch down. 

“The time constraint is a fun challenge,” Ms. Smith said. “We definitely follow flights to see if they are delayed. There was one that was by two hours. We were happy for the extra time.” 

The duo writes an average of six stories a day. They hope to finish 50 by June 30, when their project ends, and compile them in a book. “We’re probably going to self-publish and give it to whoever will take it,” she said. 

“A lot of airports have art,” said Lysa Scully, the general manager of La Guardia Airport. “But having active and involved art that customers engage with, that is the unique model. I haven’t seen that anywhere.”

Great idea, right? Click here to read the full story at The New York Times. Even better, click here to submit this idea to Portland Airport! Jobs for writers! A showcase for the arts in Portland! Who knows: they really might do it.