News Releases

December 17, 2010


SANTA ANA, Calif. - Two Orange County students were selected as the top winners in the 21st annual John Wayne Airport Student Art Contest, themed "50 Years of Human Space Flight," while winners in last year's contest were recognized for their achievement at the international level of competition.

Karen Ahn, 12, a sixth grade student at St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, won first place for the grades K-6 category with her interpretation of the contest theme. (See photo below)

Artwork by Karen Ahn depicting space scene

Ji Young Hwang, 18, a senior at Irvine High School, won first place in the grades 7-12 category for her painting depicting an astronaut in space. (See photo below)

Painting by Ji Young Hwang depicting spaceman in space

All of the winning artwork from JWA's contest will be submitted to the state level of competition in the 2011 International Aviation Art Contest. State winners move on to the National level.  National winners compete at the International Level of the contest which is scheduled for May 2011 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Two JWA 2010 contest winners were recognized at the International Level with Rachel Rhee (9) of Yorba Linda receiving 1st place and Ashley Ho (7) of Irvine receiving 2nd place.  Their images can be viewed at

"We're privileged to honor young artists who use their talent and creativity to depict the world of aviation," said Airport Director Alan L. Murphy. "Their artwork continues to be impressive and we’re pleased and proud to give these students the opportunity for recognition throughout other levels of the competition."

JWA implemented its Annual Student Art Contest in 1990 as part of the opening of the Thomas F. Riley Terminal.  The contest is open to all Orange County public and private school students in Kindergarten through grade twelve. In 1996, the Airport began coordinating its art contest with the International Aviation Art Contest sponsored by the National Aeronautic Association, National Association of State Aviation Officials, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, in cooperation with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

JWA maintains an ongoing Airport Arts Program, and has presented a series of museum quality exhibitions in the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery and featured numerous Orange County artists through the Community Focus Space program. Art work accepted for the student art contest will be on display next to baggage Carousels 1 and 4 on the lower level of the Thomas F. Riley Terminal now through January 10, 2011.

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EDITORS:  More photos of student art can be obtained by contacting Jenny Wedge at (949) 252-5182 or via email at