Art at the Airport

Art is an enjoyable part of the guest experience at John Wayne Airport. Whether entering the security area, passing time before boarding a plane or arriving in Orange County, JWA offers an array of visual art exhibits throughout the Airport.

Travelers, staff members and businesses benefit from JWA Arts Program. Local artists have the opportunity to share Orange County’s rich and diverse culture through their art and talent, offering beauty and enrichment to those passing through the Airport. The JWA Arts Program has permanent public art exhibits as well as rotating exhibitions.


Flight of Ideas

JWA’s inspiring first public art acquisition titled “Flight of Ideas” may be viewed from both the Departure (upper) Level and the Arrival (lower) Level Baggage Carousels in Terminal C. This large-scale sculpture created from aluminum and Plexiglas elements evoking the flight of both birds and aircraft while utilizing aeronautical charts for wing color.


John Wayne Airport 2006

The iconic bronze statue of John Wayne by artist Robert Summers is located on the Departure (lower) Level between the Baggage Carousels in Terminals A and B. This sculpture is visited often and has been the focus of many photos as well as posts on social media. John Wayne is part of the history of Orange County, the film industry and the Airport’s history. In June of 1979, Orange County’s Airport was renamed John Wayne Airport.



The Vi Smith Concourse Gallery has three locations. The first location is across from Gates 2-5 in Terminal A and the second is across from Gates 18-21 in Terminal C. The third is across from Gates 14 and 15. “In Good Taste” is the exhibit currently on display, featuring a variety of Culinary Art topics from across Orange County. This extensive examination of Southern California’s food culture displays fascinating information on chefs, restaurants and venues that directly relate to Orange County. “In Good Taste” will run through August 2018. When asked about ‘In Good Taste’, traveler Debra Phillips shared, “I am a foodie and enjoyed the culinary exhibit. It is very attractive and informative.” Past exhibits have included antique and classic radios, surfing history, vintage tin toy robots, Native American Art, sports memorabilia and more.


Fire Sky by Stephanie Hager

JWA’s Community Focus Space art may be viewed on the Departure (upper) Level near security screening areas in Terminals A, B and C, and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4. The Community Focus Space features solo-style exhibits by Orange County artists. The exhibits change monthly.


The Orange County: Destination Art & Culture exhibit is located pre-security along the pedestrian walkway connecting Terminals B and C. The current installation features The Aerial Photography History of Newport Center/Fashion Island.


By Yiman Zhang

Each year John Wayne Airport’s Student Art Contest and exhibition receives hundreds of entries from public and private schools across Orange County. from K–12 students. Winning artworks from these aspiring and talented JWA Student Art Contest entrants have continued on to compete at the state, national and international levels in the International Aviation Art Contest. You can view the work of these young artists on our JWA Arts Program page.

From traditional to contemporary art, mixed media to photography, sculpture to memorabilia, JWA’s Arts Program represents many facets of artistic expression. When visiting JWA, take a moment to enjoy the creative and unique art that represents Southern California.

%d bloggers like this: