Nashville International Airport > Art & Music > Exhibits > Waveform: Pan American Blues

Waveform: Pan American Blues

Pan American Blues by Shan Shan Sheng
Shan Shan Sheng: Pan American Blues
BNA Ticketing Lobby
Dedicated: 2011

In 2008, the Arts at the Airport Board, along with the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority Board of Commissioners, commissioned artist Shan Shan Sheng to create a significant piece of art that would impress passengers and visitors with a sense of Nashville’s warmth, hospitality and growing cosmopolitan feel, while speaking to our history and heritage. Shan Shan Sheng’s suspension sculpture was chosen because it encompassed all of these goals. Its floating beauty, lyrical movement and sheer size draw the viewer in with a sense of awe and wonder. Without being overly literal, the piece is about music and the history of Music City and, most impressively, the viewer experiences a different perspective from wherever it is viewed in the Ticketing Lobby. It also invokes the excitement of a journey begun with its vibrant blues, reds and purples.

It is inspired by a soundwave from the song Pan American Blues performed by Country Music Hall of Fame member DeFord Bailey, the first African American performer on the Grand Ole Opry radio show. Coincidentally, he performed this song the night the name “Grand Ole Opry” was coined.

The sculpture is 85 feet wide and has 82 glass panels ranging in length from 7.5 feet to 14.5 feet. The glass is created with a cold cast process and is similar to bullet-proof glass. Funding for this project is provided for by the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority’s one percent-for-art-policy.

Arts at the Airport receives funding for the visual arts from the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) and the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC). The Flying Solo Exhibition Series is funded under an agreement with TAC. For more information about Arts at the Airport, please call (615) 275-1614 or send email to