Westways Cover Art Exhibit Featured At John Wayne Airport

Corporate Information

(SANTA ANA, Calif., May 27, 2009) – A new exhibition, “Scenic View Ahead: The Westways Centennial,” featuring cover art from the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Westways magazine, will be on display in the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal at John Wayne Airport (JWA) beginning this week and continuing through Monday, Oct. 19.

The exhibition will feature 56 paintings. Ticketed passengers who have passed through security will be able to view the collection, on display across from Gates 1 – 4 and 11 – 14 in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal.

Westways magazine celebrated its 100th birthday earlier this year as Southern California’s longest continuously published magazine. Today, it has the 10th largest circulation of all magazines in the nation. Published by the Auto Club for its members, Westways serves 8 million readers as the region’s premier lifestyle magazine and is a significant voice in local and regional affairs.

“The exhibition at John Wayne Airport will have more works of Westways cover-art than any prior public showing of the collection,” said Auto Club Historian Matthew W. Roth. “We’re delighted with the airport and its expansive space, which allows us to present works of art from every period and genre. The cover of the Auto Club magazine featured examples from most of the major movements of California art in the 20th century and this is a rare and welcome opportunity to present that breadth to our members and the public.”

The WESTWAYS cover-art program began in 1928 and commissioned paintings from most major artists working in Southern California including Alson Clark, Maynard Dixon, John Frost, Donna Schuster and William Wendt from the plein-air period. Noteworthy watercolorists such as Rex Brandt, Phil Dike and Maurice Logan also contributed.

Westways covers also traced prominent stylistic movements of the 1940s through 1970s such as California watercolor, Pop Art and collage-mixed media. Artists who created covers for Westways, also designed posters, album covers and sets for films and theater such as Jan Sawka, and Merle Shore. In the 1960s-1980s, the last decades of the cover-art program, the magazine capitalized on the eclectic Los Angeles art scene by featuring covers from diverse and notable artists such as William Pajaud, Paul Hogarth and Shore.

Westways originally published under the name Touring Topics starting in 1909 at 10 cents per issue with a yearly subscription rate of $1. The earliest issues focused on touring destinations, advances in automotive technology, racing coverage and efforts to bring modern road building to Southern California. Travel coverage expanded to descriptions of road conditions, lodging reviews and innovations like the motel. Along the way, the magazine took a new direction and adopted a broader cultural mission and commissioned original artwork for the magazine covers. The Westways name was placed on the mast in 1934, with Gyo Fujikawa’s untitled painting, following a reader contest that drew 10,000 entries.

More information about JWA’s art program is available online.