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Aviation mural displayed at Lambert for 27 years has been moved to SLU

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2010 - "Flight … An American Triumph," the mural memorializing the history of aviation and displayed at Lambert St. Louis Airport for almost 30 years has been tranferred to Saint Louis University.

Lambert officials announced Wednesday that the 142-foot mural -- begun by artist Siegfried Reinhardt in 1980 and displayed in the lower part of the main terminal for 27 years -- has been donated to the university by the Reinhardt Mural Foundation.

The mural is to be displayed somewhere on SLU's campus. Lambert officials note that the university's Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology "was the first federally certified flight school in the country and remains a leader in educating new generations of pilots."

The mural has not been displayed at Lambert since last summer, when it was temporarily replaced by other works of art, which also have been removed in preparation of renovations. 

"There are upcoming airport improvements near the mural’s location, which raised concerns that they could cause harm to the mural," said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge in a statement. "The airport never owned the mural. However, as longtime caretakers, we felt it was very important to keep this treasured art piece in the community and we helped the Reinhardt Mural Foundation board members connect with Saint Louis University to make that happen."

Lambert also is donating to the university all documents and photographs related to the mural's creation.

The transfer of the Reinhardt mural doesn't affect another mural, "Black Americans in Flight,'' that Lambert plans to continue to display. That mural was completed in 1990 by Spencer Taylor.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.