To mark Women’s History Month, United Airlines has launched what it calls a “first-of-its-kind contest” to find two female artists for a very special artwork that will adorn a unique canvas – a Boeing 757 aircraft. United says it wanted to give greater exposure to female artists because while women account for around 51% of today’s artists, only 13% on display in museums are by female artists.
This project, which has been dubbed ‘Her Art Here’, will certainly go some way to addressing that lack of exposure – with a canvas size of 11,000 square feet, the two Boeing 757’s will fly an average of 1.6 million miles a year and make some 476 cross-country trips.
United is accepting applications from anyone who identifies as a woman, whether that’s cisgender, transgender, woman-aligned or non-binary but you must currently live in the United States. Although you don’t have to come from California or New York, the airline wants artists who can represent the two regions in their artwork.
Working alongside renowned British-born artist Shantell Martin, the two winners will develop and finalize their artworks which will be painted on the two Boeing 757’s later this year. Much more information on the competition, as well as all the details on how to enter, can be found on United’s microsite: united.com/HerArtHere
“As a company, we believe in the importance of equality of women in what has historically been a male-dominated field,” explains Jill Kaplan, United’s president for New York and New Jersey.
“When we heard the statistics about how underrepresented women are when it comes to displaying their art, we thought what better way to contribute to changing this narrative than by offering the biggest canvas we have access to – an aircraft.”
We couldn’t agree more! United says its long been a leader in promoting the role of women in all aspects of the aviation industry and at present the Chicago-based carrier employs more female pilots than any other airline in the world. In fact, Bebe O’Neil is Unite’s chief pilot and is responsible for managing the airline’s 12,600 pilots.
But while United’s competition is certainly unique, it’s not the first airline to feature artwork by a female artist on one of its aircraft.
Last year, Australian airline Qantas unveiled a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner adorned in unique Indigenous livery which was based on the artwork of late Northern Territory artist and senior Anmatyerre woman, Emily Kame.
Qantas has worked with the Indigenous-owned design studio Balarinji for more than two decades on aircraft livery projects and other design work, including the 2003 Peter Morrissey uniform.