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News Releases

September 19, 2017


SANTA ANA, Calif. – From September 18, 2017 – October 18, 2017, a series of paintings evoking photorealism by artist Gene Swanson will be on display at John Wayne Airport (JWA) as part of JWA’s Community Focus Space Program (CFS). These works can 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.

“Guests at John Wayne Airport will have the opportunity to appreciate the impeccable detail of Mr. Swanson’s work,” said Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel. “His paintings are so meticulous that it’s easy to see why some mistake his work for photographs.”

Swanson is a visual artist who began his art career in retirement. He studied painting and is self-taught in portrait sculpture. When commissioned for portrait sculptures, he seeks to capture the individual likeness of each person’s unique character.

Maui Surf by Joshua Madrid

Maui Surf by Gene Swanson

More images can be seen here.

Mr. Swanson references F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote about there being no second acts in America by saying, “The sculpting and these paintings I have done in retirement say au contraire to Mr. Fitzgerald.”

Mr. Swanson is a retired pastor who served in Newport Beach, California, for 22 years. Upon retirement and a move back to Orange County from Oakhurst, California, he was ready to start a new career. Swanson’s first paid commission portrait sculpting was of James Doti, Ph.D., former President of Chapman University. While working on sculpting commissions, Swanson studied portrait painting in pastel. He credits Saddleback Emeritus Institute classes and instructors with advancing his artistic background and abilities. As a current Laguna Woods resident, Mr. Swanson has shown his work in the Laguna Beach Art-Affair, had a one person show in the Laguna Woods Art Association, and has received numerous first prize and also Best of Show prizes in the Laguna Woods Art Association juried art shows.

Upcoming Community Focus Space Program artists include Zvi Peshkess (October 18 – November 16) and Evalyn Morris (November 16 –December 19).

To learn more about JWA's Art Programs, visit


John Wayne Airport (SNA) is owned by the County of Orange and is operated as a self-supporting enterprise that receives no general fund tax revenue. The Airport serves more than 10 million passengers annually and reaches more than 20 nonstop destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. More information can be found at Like us on, or follow us on Twitter @johnwayneair and Instagram @johnwayneair.