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DIA flying high as Best U.S. Airport for Art: Did blue Mustang kill the competition?

Was it "

Mustang

" that killed the competition -- just as the sculpture killed its creator, Luis Jimenez? Maybe it was

Terry Allen's bronze gargoyles

by baggage claim that had victory in the bag. Or perhaps it was part of some

New World order conspiracy

, as presaged in the murals by Leo Tanguma. Whatever, it's clear that Denver isn't horsing around with its art collection:

Denver International Airport

was just named "

Best U.S. Airport for Art

" by the readers of

USA Today

, who picked it from twenty airports nominated by the publication.

"Denver International Airport is known around the world for its exceptional public art, and we are proud that our customers have selected us as their favorite U.S. airport for art," said Kim Day, Denver's manager of aviation, in acknowledging the honor. "We strive to create spaces within the airport that are light-filled, airy and complete with artwork that enriches the travel experience and sparks conversation."

And those sentiments could explain the piece of art that USA Today choose to illustrate Denver's victory. With more than thirty pieces in the collection to choose from, USA Today went not with "Mustang," which is the most loved -- and also the most loathed -- piece of public art at DIA, but "America, Why I Love Her," the homage to roadside attractions across America created by artist/baggage handler Gary Sweeney.

DIA is flying high this week: It was also just rated number one for healthiest airport food in the country by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

More from the Calhoun: Wake Up Call archive: " Denver International Airport artworks that fly -- and terrify."

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