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Murals/Art

You're Surrounded by Works of Art

Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or simply appreciate fine work, the Air Zoo's collection of both indoor and outdoor art is sure to catch your eye.

Wander among hundreds of original paintings, prints and sculptures, including works by major artists such as Kirk Newman, Jean Flower, Alan D'Estrehan, John Herbst, Clement E. Daley, William Phillips, H. Gordinier and Sonny Dalton. Study the numerous aviation photographs and posters that, along with a rotation of temporary exhibits, complete the collection.

Take a look around the Air Zoo, and you'll soon notice that everything, including our artwork, is done on a grand scale:

  • The towering impact of our 28,800-square-foot hand-painted indoor mural
  • The expansive deck of the USS Kittyhawk
  • The sweeping panorama of the pre-Wright Brothers era of flight

"Century of Flight" Mural

A section of the Air Zoo's mural depicting the barnstorming era of flightOur 800' x 32' mural was created and hand-painted by renowned flight artist Rick Herter and his assistant Tony Hendrick. The lifelike mural took more than 14 months to complete.

This extraordinary work of art traces aviation history from the first hot air balloon launch by France's Montgolfier Brothers to modern space flight. The mural continues to make lasting impressions every day on Air Zoo visitors.

Mural Statistics:

Size: 28,800 square feet - Comparable to three football fields.

Time to complete: 14 months

Paint: 400 gallons of oil paint

Number of brushes: More than 200; ranging from 1/4" artists brushes to 6" rollers.

"Flights of Fancy" Mural

Images from Greek and Egyptian mythology, Da Vinci's Ornithopter, various dirigibles, space ships and oddities. What do all these have in common? They can all be found in the "Flights of Fancy" mural, located in the Air Zoo's Kids' Korner.


Detail of Kids' Korner mural at the Air ZooThis mural is the work of Kalamazoo artist Sy Ellens. He is a well-known and respected artist whose work can be found in private and corporate collections in many states throughout the U.S., as well as many countries around the world.

The mural was created to help inspire children's own creative juices. Mr. Ellens' wish is that the mural also provides a source for learning "something about other cultures, their thoughts, ideas and dreams."


Mural Statistics:

Size: 2,100 square feet

Time to complete: 12 weeks @ 60 hours per week

Paint: Roughly five gallons worth of small tubes of oil paint

Number of brushes: Nine of varying sizes

Main Campus Floor Mural

Details of the expansive floor mural at the Air ZooImagine a place where you can walk through the flower-laden fields of France, the dusty fields of a World War II airbase, stroll along the deck of the USS Kittyhawk and cap off your jaunt with a walk in space. Our one-of-a-kind floor mural lets you do just that.

The mural, created to mimic each of the "zones" in the attraction, was painted by Kalamazoo artist Sy Ellens on 40, 45" x 45" masonite boards that were transferred to prints.

The mural was then taken to Agio Imaging, where it was digitally photographed, blown up 1000% and printed onto 12.5-square-foot sections of vinyl.

The vinyl sections were then assembled onto the floor like a giant jigsaw puzzle, and covered with several coats of epoxy. The result is a 36,000-square-foot piece of art you can actually walk on.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program