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Luminous Wind Art Piece Installed on 61st and Peña


DEN’s Newest Addition to Extensive Public Art Collection

Picture of Luminous Wind art exhibit. Picture of Luminous Wind art exhibit.

DENVER – Nov. 6, 2020 – The Denver International Airport’s (DEN) public art collection has gained a new sculpture, visible from Peña Boulevard and is quite fittingly dedicated to the corridor’s namesake, former Denver Mayor, U.S. Secretary of Transportation and U.S. Secretary of Energy, Federico Peña.

“We are known worldwide for the art pieces around and inside our airport,” said DEN CEO Kim Day. “Mustang has a reputation of greeting and bidding ‘farewell’ to passengers. We love that Luminous Wind will literally luminate the path for passengers on their way to or from DEN while honoring Federico Peña, who made Denver International Airport possible, not to mention his many other notable accomplishments.”

Luminous Wind draws connections between Peña Station NEXT, a master-planned smart city – co-developed by DEN and Fulenwider, Inc. – the Panasonic technology-infused infrastructure and the vision of Denver’s former Mayor Federico Peña.

“Denver International Airport was the foundation for our bold, new plan to ‘Imagine A Great City’ in 1983,” said former Mayor Federico Peña. “I am proud to have led the team that made it possible and grateful that Luminous Wind was created to commemorate our teamwork.”

The piece will be formally dedicated to former Mayor Federico Peña in the spring of next year. Peña was elected Mayor of Denver in 1983, making him the city’s first Hispanic mayor. He led the efforts to move Denver’s Stapleton Airport east and build Denver International Airport.

Luminous Wind was created by artists Laura Haddad and Thomas Drugan. The sculpture is made from environmentally activated materials – 952 prismatic clear acrylic rods that reflect and refract sunlight during the day radiate out from a stainless-steel geodesic sphere set on a tripod of stainless-steel columns. The form of the rods is inspired by grasses of the windswept plains landscape. Each rod is illuminated by an individually programmable color-changing LED node, resulting in a mosaic of shifting light colors and patterns to create a myriad of spectacular dynamic and vivid nighttime effects.

Each night of the week, a different moving light show cycles through the sculpture, while holidays are marked by special colors and programs. Additionally, the design incorporates a wind sensor that triggers an increase/decrease to the light movement, creating a barometer that visualizes and broadcasts wind patterns.

Luminous Wind has been a fantastic opportunity to fuse inspiration from the surrounding plains, the airport and the work of Federico Peña to create artwork that expresses the growing sustainable and technologicallyadvanced ‘Smart City’ community of Peña Station NEXT,” said co-creator Tom Drugan. “We hope it will be a beacon of inspiration, not just for the residents, but the many travelers heading to and from the airport.”

The artwork was commissioned by the City and County of Denver Department of Aviation, in collaboration with Aviation Station North Metropolitan District and Fulenwider, at Peña Station NEXT. The City’s Public Art Program Ordinance directs that 1% of any capital improvement project over $1 million undertaken by the city, be set aside for the inclusion of art. The ordinance has allowed the airport to feature nearly 40 site-specific works including sculptures, murals and other installations. Luminous Wind’s commission amount was $350,000.

Luminous Wind is located on 61st and Peña at Peña Station NEXT. The art piece can be viewed from the train station, while riding the RTD A-Line and from Peña Boulevard.

More images of Luminous Wind can be found here.

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!