Interactive sculpture inspired by Northern Lights being installed at MSP

Crews hoist pieces of "The Aurora" sculpture into place at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. (FOX 9)

By the end of year, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will have a new signature piece of art in Terminal 1 for travelers to experience. 

Artist Jen Lewin says the two-story sculpture called “The Aurora” was inspired by Minnesota experiences she has come to cherish.

“I thought a lot about the beautiful times I’ve had here, particularly camping,” said Lewin. “And these sunsets over these lake surfaces, or even in the winter these beautiful nighttime skies over a frozen lake. And that really kind of evolved into this idea of creating the aurora.”  

She has largely built “The Aurora” in her Brooklyn, New York studio. The concept was to create a sculpture mimicking the Northern Lights. People passing through the airport will be able to create their own aurora while walking across a series of Minnesota lakes.

“People will be able to able to stand on these lakes and watch them light up under their feet,” said Lewin. “And they’ll be able to gesture, and as they gesture, light, interactive light will swoosh up through this entire metal form which will span these two floors.”  

The concept is for the sculpture to serve as a gateway – an artistic representation of welcoming people to the beauty that is Minnesota and giving them a final memory to take home.

“What we are hoping to do is create a space where people recognize that they are in Minnesota,” said Ben Owen, the director of the MSP arts and culture program. “And, that they can use this location to say goodbye to their loved ones when they’re leaving on their journey and also to welcome them home when they return.”  

It’s all about building memories with art.

“It’s sort of to really embrace how beautiful this state is,” said Lewin. “All of these beautiful, natural elements even when it’s really cold outside it can be really beautiful, to bring a piece of these into this space and allow people to experience it in a new and unique way.”  

The sculpture will also interact with the live weather outside whether it’s snowing or raining, that will be reflected in the lights on the sculpture. The work of art should be finished by the end of December.