Tulsa International Airport Has New Art Exhibit With A Focus On City’s History


Thursday, March 17th 2022, 9:48 pm


TULSA, Oklahoma -

A new art exhibit at Tulsa International Airport features the work of a local metal artist. The exhibit has four unique pieces that represent Tulsa’s history and resources.

In the waiting area at TIA, this new exhibit called "Flight #918" welcomes travelers from all over. The area at the airport is reserved for a different exhibit each year.

This year's artist is proud to call Tulsa home, and he wants to make sure his artwork reflects that. The man behind the metal work, Ralph Weidling, said the featured pieces are inspired by things he has seen or felt while living in Green Country the last 11 years.

"Really just to represent the city and state that has helped me find myself, you know?” explained Weidling. “My motto is, 'I found my fate in the 918.'"

The designs focus on Tulsa’s Art Deco, extensive oil history and Native American culture, with a piece even showing how to say "Hello" in languages of the five civilized tribes of Oklahoma.

Weidling showed News On 6 where lives and creates: On a farm in Sand Springs he calls the “Painted Acres.” He turned a room into a studio and a barn into a metal shop.

The 32-year-old worked in industrial welding and landscaping before becoming a full-time artist.

For the airport exhibit, he had one month to create the pieces, including black and gold Art Deco, a bison, Tulsa skyline and a scene of Tulsa roadways.

"I want them to feel connected, also surprised,” said Weidling. “I think that the world, in general, doesn't know a lot about Oklahoma."

Stephanie Chester with TIA said the goal of art at the airport is to give travelers a sense of where they are.

"It definitely provides insight into the city, insight into the culture that we have here in Tulsa,” explained Chester. “It's a great way for us to be able to show the travelers that, 'Hey, this is a peek of what you're going to be able to see when you first get to Tulsa.'"

Weidling said it is an honor to give back to a community that has helped him grow as an artist and person. This exhibit will be at the airport through January of 2023.