There is an oasis of art inside the Tallahassee International Airport known as the Artport Gallery.
It highlights the work of local artists and captures the imagination of travelers. Exhibits rotate every six to eight weeks between the airport and City Hall.
The 2021 photo fest, managed and curated by the Council on Culture & Arts, features more than 20 breathtaking images photographed by 33 local artists.
The photos were selected by a volunteer jury who reviewed the submitted images and selected work for the exhibition. Artists can submit as many photos as they choose with no limit of how many may be selected.
Many artists utilize the platform to find new connections and network while others utilize the platform as an outlet.
Tommy McGraw, whose images of Lake Lamonia lightning at Bull Headley landing, has been participating in the program for two years. McGraw was introduced to the program through a friend at work and entered for the first time in 2019.
“It’s nice to have my work shown and to be able to have this platform from the city to share my work, its truly an honor,” McGraw said.
McGraw’s daring and bold personality displays through his breathtaking image of the lightning striking in an open field. The image, shot exactly at 5:59 p.m. in August 2019, displays a magnifying strike of lightning that resembles a tree branch.
McGraw has been shooting since around 1985, mainly taking photos of wildlife, and he found an interest in shooting lightning in 2015. McGraw does not consider himself a professional photographer but expresses his appreciation of the platform to share his work.
Bob O’Lary, who is featured twice in the gallery, is a former senior computer technician at FAMU’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication and has been doing photography since 1972. O’Lary has participated in the gallery for a few years and receives notices when they have gallery opportunities. He uses the platform to share his creativity with the community around him.
“I have netted these two images in the photo fest because of the popularity of my past work,” O’Lary said. “I just wanted to share more of my creative work.”
O’Lary shot two images that are featured in the airport gallery, “Friends with Firecrackers” and “Osprey in Flight”. Both images display a true talent allowing the photographer to capture a moment and making it last indefinitely.
For more information about COCA and the airport gallery, visit coca.tallahasseearts.org