10/24/2012 06:14 EDT | Updated 12/24/2012 05:12 EST

Comox airport uses art to shape tourists' first impressions of Vancouver Island

COMOX, B.C. - A three-metre-wide carved wooden eagle hangs from the ceiling of Comox Valley Airport's terminal building, part of a new display of artworks intended to create a positive first impression for visitors arriving on Vancouver Island.

The works by 10 artists represent "the unique people, places and environment" of central and northern Vancouver Island, say organizers of the exhibition which will run until July 2013.

Artist Wes Seeley, originally from Quadra Island, spent more than 2,000 hours carving the eagle, including its 1,000 feathers, out of fir as well as red, yellow and aromatic cedar.

"YQQ values its unique perspective as the first point of entry for many Vancouver Island tourists and we believe it is our responsibility to help positively shape the first perceptions of those guests," said airport CEO Fred Bigelow.

More than 300,000 passengers pass through the airport each year.

The airport's annual art and culture program is a partnership between the Comox Valley Airport Commission and the Comox Valley Community Arts Council.