Ned Kahn (Press Democrat photo by Mark Aronoff. 2007.)

Internationally recognized Sebastopol sculptor Ned Kahn’s proposal for a $2 million public art installation at the Denver International Airport is moving through the approval process.

“Earlier this year, the airport had a big competition and got it down to a couple of proposals, and they picked mine. The project still has to jump through a couple of approval hopes,” Kahn said. “They need to get their local city council to approve it.”

The piece Kahn plans will be a kinetic work made of some 20,000 wind-animated panels aluminum and stainless steel, to be spread across half an acre on a new plaza between the main airport terminal and a new hotel center and light rail station.

“It’s basically a horizontal version of the piece I did in Santa Rosa on the AT&T building. Instead of a vertical surface, it’s a horizontal field. It’s intended to look like metallic grasses blowing in the wind,” Kahn said.

Kahn’s “Digitized Field” was installed on the side of the former AT&T building on Third Street near B Street, on 2005.

The Denver International Airport construction is under way now and expected to last at least two more years, Kahn said.

Kahn’s proposed sculpture is part of an overall art purchase totalling $5.2 million, mandated by the rules of Denver’s Public Art Program, which stipulate that 1 percent of the construction budgets of major city projects must be set aside for public art. The airport project’s total budget is estimated at $500 million.

“It’s a good gig,” Kahn said.

Kahn won a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” fellowship for exceptional creative work in 2003. The foundation is named for late philanthropists John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, of Chicago and Palm Beach.

Kahn said he also has some other new projects in the works.

“I’m working on a pedestrian bridge that will be part of Union Station in Los Angeles. For San Francisco, I working on a bus-activated fountain at the Transbay Terminal. That’s also under construction,” Kahn said.