Painting for quieter skies

  • Thumper Meets the Airport Expansion

    Painting by Wilson Crawford
  Artist Wilson Crawford recently painted Thumper Meets the Airport Expansion to protest a proposal to lengthen the runway in Taos, N.M. The painting shows giant airplane wheels squishing a rabbit against a backdrop of purple mountains and blue sky. Along with more than 100 artists, Crawford donated his work to a two-week exhibit, Quiet Skies, which ran in January. The artists say a longer runway would allow jets to arrive directly from Los Angeles, aggravating Taos' tourism congestion. They also say it could direct more planes over the 2,000-person Taos Pueblo and its adjacent 48,000-acre wilderness area. Tribal officials fear 600-year-old tribal buildings may crumble from sonic booms, and they say private pilots frequently intrude on private religious ceremonies, flying as low as 60 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to complete an environmental impact statement by 1995, which will comprehensively analyze impacts on both the town and the tribe, says coordinator Joy Porter. Meanwhile, the Quiet Skies exhibit earned more than $1,000, which artist Jean-Louis Bourgeois says will go towards a lawsuit if the FAA suggests approval for the longer runway. For information, call the Philip Bareiss Gallery (505/776-2284).

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