National Art Award for Clinton Airport’s ‘Over an Arkansas Sky’

“Under an Arkansas Sky,’ designed by Indianapolis artist Tiffany Black, was installed by Missouri Terrazzo Company in Little Rock’s Clinton National Airport.

An insect is depicted in the terrazzo floor.

An array of native insects, birds, and plants are depicted in the public art floor.

A butterfly in terrazzo.

The artist consulted with Arkansas environmentalists and scientists to develop the design and render the images for the terrazzo.

Missouri Terrazzo is honored by the National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association for the public art floor designed by Tiffany Black.

Missouri Terrazzo never limited me or pushed back; they trusted my vision. Every step was met with yeses. It really unleashed my creativity and let me just go for it. I really appreciated that.”

— Tiffany Black, artist

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS, USA, June 30, 2023/ — The National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA) has presented to Missouri Terrazzo of St. Louis a 2023 Judges’ Choice Honor Award for Art for “Over an Arkansas Sky,” a terrazzo installation in Little Rock’s Clinton National Airport. The award for the public artwork was announced on May 11 at the association’s 100th annual national convention in Lake Como, Italy.

This installation is the first in Clinton National’s new “Art in the Airport” series. Artist Tiffany Black designed the terrazzo pattern while she was an artist-in-residence and visiting professor of art at Arkansas Tech University.

In the airport’s pre-security lobby, a 4,624-square-foot landscape unfolds on the floor beneath travelers, inviting exploration. A glorious celebration of the state’s natural beauty, the installation depicts 16 native insects; 12 local plants, including a central compass plant; and a pair of mockingbirds.

The piece comprises 50 epoxy terrazzo colors and 50 different stone aggregate mixes, with additions of mother-of-pearl and recycled glass for texture. Pattern elements in “Over an Arkansas Sky”—a tribute to state poet laureate Jo McDougall—range from spots no bigger than a dime on butterfly wings to five square feet.  

The floor design was the artist’s first project in terrazzo. She had previously painted public murals in Indiana, Maryland, New York, and Arkansas.

“The experience was so different,” said Ms. Black. “I was used to actually painting from a design or sketch, having all the control over it, being able to make decisions and adjustments. I could go look at it from across the street. On this project, once the files and the samples were sent in, I had to let go of all control.”

The project was coordinated by VIA Partnership, with Alliiance Architects of Minneapolis. Missouri Terrazzo Company of St. Louis was established in 1932 and has been an NTMA member since 1938.

The NTMA’s annual Honor Award program recognizes outstanding terrazzo projects its members submit. Industry veterans and design professionals evaluate entries on aesthetics, craftsmanship, and scope. The project was one of 17 awards, selected from 51 entries this year. The Honor Awards program promotes member contractors as the sole qualified resource for terrazzo installations that meet the highest industry standards.

The NTMA, a full-service nonprofit trade association headquartered in Fredericksburg, Texas, celebrates its centennial this year. The NTMA establishes national standards for terrazzo systems for floor and vertical applications. Its mission is to promote quality craftsmanship and creativity in terrazzo while supporting its 148 members in their trade and service to the construction industry.

The NTMA’s full range of free services extends to architects, interior designers, artists, general contractors, maintenance professionals, and property owners. From helping the design community write specifications to providing technical assistance at any stage of a project, the NTMA’s objective is to ensure quality terrazzo installations.

Terrazzo originated in 15th-century Italy, a direct descendant of the mosaic artistry of ancient Rome. One of the world’s original sustainable building systems, terrazzo evolved through the resourcefulness of Venetian marble workers as they discovered a creative way to reuse discarded stone chips. Terrazzo artisans still pour terrazzo by hand on the construction site, with options for precast and waterjet-cut elements. Stone, glass, or other aggregates, often sourced locally and/or recycled, are embedded in a cement or epoxy base and polished. Terrazzo combines design flexibility with ease of maintenance and durability to last the life of the building.

Paul Berra
Missouri Terrazzo Company
+1 314-361-8090
[email protected]
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Award-winning ‘Over an Arkansas Sky’ terrazzo art floor at Clinton Airport

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