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Festival of Art displays huge collection at John Wayne Airport - OCRegister

Author: OCRegister

Source: https://www.ocregister.com/2023/10/28/festival-of-art-displays-huge-collection-at-john-wayne-airport/

Image of Festival of Art displays huge collection at John Wayne Airport - OCRegister

A collection of some of the Festival of Arts’ finest paintings have been welcoming visitors to Orange County all summer long.The exhibit across three terminals at John Wayne Airport wraps up this week.The 90 pieces on display are housed in huge cases and have QR codes attached explaining more about the artwork and the 60 artists who created them.The codes also direct people to websites for the famed art show and the Pageant of the Masters, both of which have a rich history in Laguna Beach and Southern California.Artworks from the Festival of Arts permanent collection are on display for another week at John Wayne Airport.(Photos courtesy of FOAPAC and Tom Lamb)Artworks from the Festival of Arts permanent collection are on display for another week at John Wayne Airport.(Photos courtesy of FOAPAC and Tom Lamb)Artworks from the Festival of Arts permanent collection are on display for another week at John Wayne Airport. (Photos courtesy of FOAPAC and Tom Lamb)Festival officials said they wanted the greater traveling public to also become familiar with the shows and they hope the artwork inspires visitors to consider next year’s events as a destination when coming to the area.“We thought the airport would create a diverse population for the exhibit,” said Tom Lamb, a photographer and member of the festival’s board.“Many people are used to seeing public art collections around the world.We figured many people arrive by air and sometimes may wonder, “What can I do here?”The Festival of Arts, which has a 1,000-piece permanent collection, celebrated its 91st year this summer.Juried painters, sculptors, jewelers and mixed-media artists win slots each summer to set up booths and show off their art at the Festival of Arts grounds on Laguna Canyon Road.This summer’s art show drew about a quarter of a million people, but Lamb said the numbers remain down compared to before the pandemic.The exhibition at the airport includes early Laguna Beach artists such as Joseph Kleitsch and Edgar Payne and contemporary artists such as Stillman Sawyer and Thomas Waddelow.It was curated by Pat Sparkuhl, an artist and longtime festival exhibitor.He was hired by the festival board to bring the collection up to date so it could be exhibited. It took about a year for him to get the show together.“It’s very diverse and interesting,” Lamb said, encouraging people to take the time to walk through each of the three terminals.“It’s a huge opportunity for the festival to be given this show.”Lamb said he’s been to the airport at least 15 times since the exhibit debuted.Each time, he found people fascinated by what they were seeing, he said.Introducing himself, Lamb has asked people what they think, he said.Some told him they had been to the pageant and the festival previously and now want to go back.In one case, a woman asked about purchasing a piece. While nothing can be purchased from the collection, Lamb connected the woman with the artist.While the pieces are on display near the gates, locals who still want to take a look before it closes Wednesday, Nov.1, can take advantage of the airport’s OC Air Pass.The pass is available to anyone who wants to tour the show, but requires driver’s license identification and passing through TSA security.The pass is available at a kiosk in the airport’s baggage areas and is good for one-day access.Heather Bowling, the airport’s art curator, said about 1 million travelers come through the airport a month and have had an opportunity to see the collection.Responses, she said, have been very positive and she appreciates the variety that the festival’s exhibit has provided.“People asked questions and will ask about the artists and origins of the work,” she said, adding that many locals have also taken the opportunity to visit with the air pass. “They can look at the art, watch planes and grab a bite.It’s interesting to be in the airport without the chaos of travel.”

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