Miami International Airport

Airport gets a whale of a display about Americas

 <span class="cutline_leadin">AN EDUCATION, TOO:</span> Maps at the exhibit show the breeding grounds and migration routes of whales in the off the Pacific coast of the Americas.
AN EDUCATION, TOO: Maps at the exhibit show the breeding grounds and migration routes of whales in the off the Pacific coast of the Americas.
Provided to the Miami Herald

An exhibit of photographs and a movie about whales in the Americas will be formally unveiled Wednesday at Miami International Airport.

The exhibit covers two walls on the third level international greeters lobby at MIA’s South Terminal J Gallery.

The exhibit is one more example in the ongoing MIA strategy to transform the airport into an attractive destination, one where travelers and visitors alike will want to spend hours shopping, dining and admiring works of art.

Art exhibits also fit into the goal of Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Emilio Gonzalez to turn MIA into a world-class airport.

“This is not only the gateway to the hemisphere, but the crown jewel of the county’s economy,” González said during a recent interview. “This airport has to be a world-class experience.”

“It’s amazing,” said Josefina Ramírez, a Miami resident who was at the site Sunday awaiting a relatives arriving on a flight.

While the huge photographs of various types of whales are striking, perhaps the most interesting part of the exhibit are maps showing the breeding grounds and migration routes of whales in the off the Pacific coast of the Americas.

One map shows a breeding ground off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, with whales migrating up the eastern Pacific to Alaska. The second map shows a breeding ground off Panama’s western coast and whales moving south all the way to Antarctica.

Yolanda Sánchez, MIA’s director of fine arts and cultural affairs, said the exhibit draws crowds whenever international flights arrive from Europe and South America early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

The exhibit, which focuses on humpback and gray whales, will be on display at MIA for six months, said Sánchez.

Airport officials will formally present the exhibit, titled bilingually Journey of Giants/Ruta de Gigantes, during a news conference and media reception at the site at 2 p.m.Wednesday.

The event will be hosted by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department and Panama-based nonprofit Fundación Albatros Media.

Alejandro Balaguer, the Argentine-born director of Fundación Albatros Media, is expected to be on hand for Wednesday’s event. He is a photographer and former Associated Press correspondent who has spent 12 years photographic humpback and gray whales in the Pacific Ocean, an according to an MIA statement.

“The goal of the exhibit is to foster awareness of the beauty of whales and the urgent need for their protection and conservation,” the statement says.

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