Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) recently revealed a modern welcome to the world – the brand-new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) – that opens for travelers this spring.
The IAF dramatically improves the travel experience and advances the Pacific Northwest as a leading tourism and business gateway. And the magnificence of the building serves as a memorable front door to greet international travel and trade with regional art, dramatic views, sustainability, and the world’s longest aerial walkway over an active taxi lane!
A special sneak peek event welcomed partners and the community inside the IAF to experience how a momentous place and occasion can bridge cultures and borders and draw our global community closer together through connection and opportunity.
As Port of Seattle Commission President Ryan Calkins shared, “Everything about this new facility – from its design to its artwork to its vistas, and even the way passengers move through the building – demonstrates our region’s most enduring values and reinforces our commitment to being the best connected, most convenient, sustainable, and welcoming airport in the world.”
The celebration began with guests led into the IAF by Mak Fai Dragon & Lion Dancers. The lion dance honors Chinese culture and other Asian countries and invites good fortune and prosperity. Next, CHIKIRI and The School of Taiko energized the space with a Japanese drumming style that celebrates connection through music.
It is important to acknowledge that SEA is on the traditional land of the first people of this region. Our airport was built on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish and other Native people. We honor first peoples by recognizing their sovereign rights and by respectfully living and working as guests on these lands.
It was a great honor to be joined at the celebration by Tlingit Tribe and Shungukei Dei Thunderbird Clan flute maker and player, George Montero. He shared his music to breathe life into the IAF and ground the celebration in Pacific Northwest values. And doing so was a special occasion that blends two deeply personal aspects of Montero’s life from his rich journey as a musician to his successful career with the Carpenter’s Union that included a key role in construction at SEA. Montero shared two totemic flutes – The Raven and Eagle and The Love Birds – that represent the harmony and symbiotic relationships of nature.
The new IAF is a symbol of the legacy being built to do big things in a way that makes us all proud. As the grand finale to end the program, SEA welcomed a performance from one of our city’s premier cultural institutions, the Seattle Opera.
Ginger Costa-Jackson, one of the most exciting and versatile artists of her generation who regularly performs at the world’s leading opera houses, performed two selections: “Una voce poco fa” from The Barber of Seville and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz. Costa-Jackson was accompanied by David McDade, Seattle Opera’s Head of Coach-Accompanists and Assistant Chorus Master.
“Seattle Opera was honored to participate in the reveal celebration for the new International Arrivals Facility,” said Seattle Opera Communications and Public Engagement Manager Joshua Gailey. “This beautiful new space reflects Seattle’s important place on the international arts scene, where it has long been recognized for setting trends and pushing boundaries. We look forward to welcoming Seattle Opera artists through its iconic gates for years to come.”
The 450,000-square-foot Grand Hall is the sweeping wow of the IAF. The cultural performances that anchored the unveiling the International Arrivals Facility were an incredible way to take up space and celebrate Seattle as a welcoming and inclusive global gateway.