Festival of Arts Unveils Largest Public Installation of its Permanent Collection at John Wayne


Spanning Across Three Terminals, 80 Plus Artworks from the Festival’s Permanent Art Collection on Display Now through Nov. 1

Travelers to John Wayne Airport examine artwork from the Festival of Arts Permanent Art Collection. Photo courtesy of Tom Lamb

The Festival of Arts has revealed its most extensive public showing of its Permanent Art Collection, now on display across three terminals at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.

On exhibit from now through Nov. 1, the exhibition features nearly 90 artworks by more than 60 artists from the past century.

Through an array of artistic expressions, the exhibition celebrates the culture of the Laguna Beach art colony through selections from the Festival’s Permanent Art Collection. Artwork by renowned early Laguna artists Joseph Kleitsch and Edgar Payne, as well as contemporary artists like Stillman Sawyer and Thomas Waddelow are on display, as well as a Laguna Beach art treasure, Virginia Woolley’s 1932 painting, Flower Stalls, which is the first artwork ever sold at the Festival of Arts.

“This exhibit is a fantastic representation of the Festival’s Permanent Collection,” said Christine Georgantas, the director of exhibits and events. “From the early days of Laguna to the present, the artwork on display reflects the rich history and pivotal role played by the Festival of Arts in nurturing both the historic and contemporary artist community in Laguna Beach.”

Showcased throughout terminals A, B, and C at John Wayne Airport, this exhibit showcases the significant collection the Festival of Arts has developed. Located across Gates 1 through 4, Terminal A, which serves American, Delta and Westjet, features artwork by early 20th-century artists Clarence Hinkle, William Griffin and Joane Cromwell. Contemporary works in this terminal include several photographs by Robert Hansen and Rob Gage and paintings by Pegah Samie, added to the collection in 2019, and Jacobus Baas, acquired in 1998.

Serving United and Alaska, Terminal B features several sculptures and three-dimensional works, including sculptures, ceramics, furniture, glass and even a full chess set created by artist Steven Dahlberg in 2001. Other highlights from this terminal are a painted metal bench from Michael Graham, a bronze statue from Lewis Cohen and a glass piece by Sherry Salito-Forsen.

Guests going through Terminal C, serving Southwest and Spirit, will discover a mix of artworks from plein air painters Anna Hills, Joseph Kleitsch, and Edgar Payne, key artists in Laguna Beach’s artistic history. And speaking of Laguna Beach’s history, Elier Larsen, widely recognized as the Laguna Beach Greeter, has a special tribute in this exhibit with photographs by Ronald Green and an oil painting by Leslie DeMille. Additional works by Julie Watson, Thomas Waddelow and Chris Bliss also hang in this terminal along with John Taylor’s mixed media piece of a maritime vessel.

“We are thrilled to partner with John Wayne Airport to bring the Festival of Arts Permanent Collection to a wider audience as part of the continuation of the Festival’s two-year 90th anniversary celebration,” exhibit curator Pat Sparkuhl said. “Art has the power to captivate, inspire, and transform, and we believe that this exhibition will enrich the travel experience for airport visitors while promoting the vibrant arts community in our region.”

Selections from the Permanent Art Collection Exhibit at John Wayne Airport is free to the public and runs through Nov. 1. Guests without a boarding pass can access the secure areas of the John Wayne Airport Terminal with an OC AirPASS (post-security access pass) to shop, dine and enjoy the exhibit.

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