Luna moths and a dwarf cypress can be seen in this photo showing detail of "Mimic," a new three-panel glass screen designed by Mel Watkin, director of the PPRC Photo Project at UMSL, for permanent installation at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

Along with new shops and restaurants, new artwork by Mel Watkin will greet passengers flying into or out of the C Concourse at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport.

Watkin is the director of the Public Policy Research Center Photography Project at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Her work, “Mimic,” is one of nine permanent three-panel glass screen installations designed by St. Louis-area artists for the A and C concourses at the airport.

“Mimic” features three dwarf cypress trees – one for each panel. Each tree is surrounded by a halo of luna moths.

The piece earned its name, Watkin said, because the luna moths have what look like eyes on their wings to frighten predators, and the insects resemble the shape and color of the trees. The tree’s berries in Watkin’s depiction also mimic the moth’s “eyes” on their wings.

C Concourse, the new home for “Mimic,” had been closed for nearly a year after sustaining heavy tornado damage on April 22, 2011. Lambert invested nearly $15 million into tornado repairs and previously planned improvements to the C Concourse. About $10 million of that covered tornado repairs alone, including the replacement and repair of 250 windows, roof, 60 rooftop mechanical units and 11 miles of cabling for alarms and other systems.

The artwork was already planned as part of the improvements to C Concourse.

“The tornado hit right after the work arrived to be installed, but it was in the basement and not hurt,” Waktin said.

The process of creating the glass art began with Watkin creating a design that was one-fourth the size of the final work. That was sent to art glass fabricator Franz Mayer in Munich. Watkin later traveled to Munich to work directly with glass painting artisans.

“They painted the trees in finely ground glass and fired it in a kiln,” she said. “They did an amazing job!”

Watkin’s work joins Lambert glass art designed by St. Louis-area artists Sarah Giannobile, Joan Hall, Jana Harper and Tom Huck.

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz