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Terminal 3 Museum Exhibitions

Terminal 3 Exhibitions

Persistent Plants & Desert Dwellers: Arizona's Flora and Fauna

Through Spring 2023

Charlotte Bender, Be Bop, 2005, oil paint on canvas

Charlotte Bender, Be Bop, 2005, oil paint on canvas, 56 x 66", Phoenix Airport Museum Collection


  • Terminal 3, level 4, in two locations

  • Pre-security, west end near Sky Train bridge

  • Post-security gallery


Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, the most biologically diverse of North American deserts, is teeming with life. It abounds with plant life, which in turn increases animal life. The Sonoran is home to the nation’s largest cacti, the towering saguaro, which provides food and shelter for many desert creatures.

Arizona boasts a spectacular selection of flora and fauna that have adapted to survive due to the extremes of high temperatures and low rainfall. The spines of the barrel cactus prevent water loss by reflecting away some of the intense desert sunlight. Bighorn sheep are able to eat tough desert plants because of their complex digestive systems. Arizona's sheer variety of plants and animals provides the perfect subject matter for biologists and artists alike.

This exhibition features the work of artists who find inspiration from living things. From wildflowers and desert tortoises to a backyard garden respite, there is plenty to capture the imagination. While some artists study plants and animals to depict them realistically, others create abstract works representing the textures and colors of nature in its elemental beauty.

These artists celebrate the natural world of the Southwest and its lasting impression on them. Using paint, fiber, clay, or bronze, this exhibition takes a closer look at the inexhaustible variety of Arizona’s Persistent Plants and Desert Dwellers.


Acerra, Kim

Arbuthnott, Mary E.

Beary, Heather Johnson

Bender, Charlotte

Currier, Denise A.

Hesson, Dyana

Jacobson, Will, and Kate

Jarson, Scott

Kagerer, Margit

Kerrigan, Thomas

Klett, Mark

Klotz, Suzanne

Kollasch, Sheila

Lehrer, Leonard

Newsome, Farraday Ayne

Rosen, Jane

Semanick, Brenda

Smith, D. Wayne

Tacheenie-Campoy, Glory

Uotila, Heidi

Valdez, Patssi

Phoenix Sister Cities

50 Years of Cultural Exchange

Through Spring 2023
Phoenix Sister Cities

Gift from Taipei, Taiwan to Phoenix Sister Cities


  • Terminal 3, level 4, east arrivals area

For 50 years, the City of Phoenix has promoted friendship, peace, and prosperity with cities around the world through its Sister Cities program. Phoenix Sister Cities was established in 1972 as a nonprofit organization seeking to develop strong relationships and build a better understanding of designated cities. Phoenix’s first Sister City relationship was established with Hermosillo, Mexico, in 1976. Since then, Phoenix has linked with ten more cities creating international partnerships and business opportunities for the citizens of Phoenix through educational, cultural, and artistic exchange programs and events.

The Sister City movement became a national effort when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the People-to-People program at a White House summit on citizen diplomacy in 1956. He envisioned a network that would champion peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different cultures.

Today, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 Sister Cities, with relationships between 2,000 communities in more than 140 countries.

At the heart of every Sister City partnership is an agreement signed by the mayors of each, confirming each community's commitment to the program. Gift exchanges between sister cities have been a long-standing tradition. Culturally significant gifts are often presented at the onset of the agreement and for specific anniversaries. This exhibition presents a sampling of gifts from Phoenix’s sister cities.

For more information about Phoenix Sister Cities and to learn how to become involved, visit:

Psyche: Mission to a Metal World

Through April 2023

Psyche: Mission to a Metal World

Binh-An Nguyen, Impact, 2019, oil pastel on paper, courtesy of Arizona State University


  • Terminal 3, Level 2, west end near TSA Security Checkpoint entrance


Deep within terrestrial planets, including Earth, scientists believe there is a metallic core. Because the center of our planet is smoldering hot and inaccessible, it makes it difficult for researchers to study. For answers, scientists are looking up to a metal-rich asteroid named Psyche. This celestial oddity has captured the interest of experts and the imagination of college students across the country.

Psyche is orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter and is believed to be the remnant core of a building block of a planet that was forming early in our solar system. It will be the only asteroid ever visited that is likely mostly metal, as the surface of most asteroids consist of rock or ice. The asteroid offers a unique window into planetary formation and the opportunity to learn more about the Earth’s core. Led by a team of investigators from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, a NASA space mission, also called Psyche, will launch in 2022. The spacecraft will map and study the asteroid’s properties once it reaches its destination in 2026.

Psyche Inspired, an internship program guided by Arizona State University, allows undergraduate students from across the country, in any discipline, an opportunity to create art based on the mission. This exhibition presents a sampling of works by students in the program utilizing paint, fabric, animation, sculpture and more. These students interpret data, anticipate outcomes or fathom fantastical scenarios of Psyche’s Mission to a Metal World.

Featured Artists

Caralie Cedarleaf        

John Domenico

Zarina Karapetyan

Levi Keatts

Monica Moreno

Binh-An Nguyen

Lydia Pitts

Jessika Raisor

Siena Smania

William Strunk

Joyce Tsui

Silvia Valladares

Anna Vanderberg

Stacy Woodruff

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream


You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream  Ongoing

Max Lehman, You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream (detail), 2008, ceramic with underglaze, glaze and acrylic paint, Phoenix Airport Museum Collection


  • Terminal 3, Level 1, west end


Artist Max Lehman draws inspiration from graffiti imagery, animation, punk rock, and ancient cultures from present-day Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

This installation features four colorful characters sitting around a table eating ice cream.

Aviator Spotlight: Vernon Haywood


Aviator Spotlight: Vernon Haywood

Robert McCall, Vernon Haywood, 2007, oil paint on canvas


  • Terminal 3, Level 1, south side near the center


Artist Robert McCall (1919-2010) flew as a bombardier for the Army Air Force in World War II. When he had time, he painted the scenes he saw and experienced. After the war, depicting aircraft became McCall’s specialty and passion.

This painting by Robert McCall depicts the notable aviator Vernon Haywood. In World War II, as a Tuskegee airman, Vernon Haywood was a member of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first African-American military flying unit. During a 16-month period, Haywood flew 70 combat missions and 356 combat tours.

When the services were integrated in 1948, Haywood went to the Jet Fighter School at Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Ariz., where he became an instructor and later a commander.

After several tours of duty in the Far East, Haywood returned to Arizona, where he commanded the 4454th Fighter Squadron, flying F-4 Phantom jets. During his 30-year military career, Haywood received the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, and numerous other awards.

People Watching At the Airport


People Watching At the Airport

Jane Kelsey-Mapel, Gift Giver: Portrait of Lunette, 1995, ceramic


  • Terminal 3, level 1, near ticketing


There is a story behind every person. By observing facial expressions, clothing, or belongings, we may gain insight into who they are, where they are from, and why they might be traveling - especially at the airport. Some people enjoy using this information to make up stories about the people they see. This exhibition features three artists who have created a unique narrative using the art form of sculpture. Whether we are standing in line, waiting for luggage, or dining at a restaurant, people-watching is an interesting way to pass the time - especially at the airport.