The Airport Arts Program, overseen by the five-member Airport Arts Commission, presents museum quality exhibitions in the Riley Terminal, provides periodic special programs in conjunction with the exhibitions and sponsors a county-wide Annual Student Art Contest/Exhibition. (View information on the John Wayne Airport Arts Commission...)


A large scale three-dimensional sculpture that is installed above the baggage carousels in Terminal C. The sculpture is composed of 21 aluminum birds with wing spans ranging in size from three feet to 14 feet suspended on an "S" shaped structure 100 feet long. Created from aluminum and polycarbonate Plexiglas, the wings of the birds display enlarged portions of multi-colored aeronautical charts. John Wayne Airport commissioned the artist Beth Nybeck of Kansas City, Missouri to create this art work for the new Terminal C.

Location: Above the baggage carousels in Terminal C

Flight of Ideas

View news article about new exhibits... | View artist's exhibit installation blog...

HIDDEN TREASURES: Art from the Permanent Collections of Orange County Colleges and Universities

Travelers can explore local art from five Orange County colleges and universities. From the art collections of California State University, Fullerton; Chapman University; Fullerton College; Laguna College of Art + Design and the University of California, Irvine, this exhibit includes historic artworks that may have been previously unavailable to the public.
View press release

Location: Departure (upper) Level, across from Gates 18 through 21 in Terminal C

Schedule: February 20, 2015 through August 2015

Untitled (Mr. OOD) by Michael Reafsnyder
Oil on Canvas 2000
Courtesy The Escalette Permanent Collection of Art at Chapman University
Wonder Slim by George James
Oil on Canvas 1971
Courtesy Fullerton College
Freeway by Luc Desmarchelier
Oil on Panel 2013
Courtesy Laguna College of Art + Design
Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha
Art Book. Alhambra, CA: Cunningham Press, 1962.
Courtesy University of California, Irvine
Reddogg (2006) by Peter Zokowsky
Courtesy California State University, Fullerton


More than 80 entries from the 2012 and 2013 American Institute of Architects Orange County Design Awards Program are on exhibit at John Wayne Airport.
View press release |

Location: Departure (upper) Level, across from Gates 2 through 5 in Terminal A

Schedule: July 30, 2014 through July 2015

Commercial: Newport Beach Civic Center Park
Residential: Reyhani Residence
Commercial: Pacific Dental Services
Commercial: Perkins+Will
Commercial: Obagi Skin Health Institute
OC 125: Exploring Orange County's Story

Visitors and residents can explore Orange County's rich 125-year history through this curated exhibition of sites and experiences taking a historical journey through Orange County.
View press release | OC's 125th Birthday - Quasquicentennial website | OC125 Companion Guide

Location: Pedestrian walkway connecting Terminals B and C (pre-security)

Schedule: August 14, 2014 through February 2015

OC's 125th Birthday - Quasquicentennial
Early OC: Brig Pilgrim
Seeking Riches and Opportunity: Helena Modjeska House
Wealth from the Land: OC Park
Promising Beginnings: OC Advertisement
Coastal Playground: 1930s Surfers, Corona del Mar
WWII Orange County: Marine Corps Air Station Tustin
New Possibilities – Post-War Transformation: Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Crossroads of the World: Disneyland Entrance c.1960
Magic Dreams and OC Innovations: Fender Museum

The Community Focus Space Program features exhibitions by Orange County artists and local community organizations.

Cheryl Bookout, Painter

A collection of whimsical paintings by Costa Mesa artist Cheryl Bookout is now on exhibit in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal as part of John Wayne Airport’s Community Focus Space Program.
View press release | Visit

Location: Terminal A on the Departure (upper) Level near the security screening entrance and on the Arrival (lower) Level near Baggage Carousel 1; Terminal B on the Departure (upper) Level, near the security screening entrance and on the Arrival (lower) Level near Baggage Carousel 4; Terminal C on the Departure (upper) Level near the security screening entrance.

Schedule: February 19, 2015 through April 16, 2015

The Fish in Her Party Dress
The Raven and the Frog
The Clairvoyants
The Raven, the Frog and a Flying Toad

This year, the JWA Student Art Contest theme was selected to commemorate Orange County's rich 125-year history. For inspiration, students were encouraged to visit JWA's OC125 Exhibition currently on display in the passenger walkway between Thomas F. Riley Terminal B and C or explore the OC125 companion guide available at Artworks that best depict this year's contest theme were selected for exhibition and prizes. The contest was open to all Orange County public and private school students in grades kindergarten through 12.

Location: Terminal A on the Arrival (lower) Level behind Baggage Carousel 1 and Terminal B on the Arrival (lower) Level behind Baggage Carousel 4.

Schedule: December 9, 2014 through March 6, 2015