Sunday, May 19, 2024

Airport Art: Flying High Again

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt.
Photos by Maurice Hewitt, except those that are Courtesy of the Airport, as noted.


 A mixed media piece made of natural fibers, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and acrylic, created by Mexican American artist Becky Guttin, who lives in San Diego and shows on both sides of the border.
Location: Terminal 2 West, Gate 28, on the way to Baggage Claim.

Remember when—in the years pre-pandemic—you could go to San Diego International Airport to view art installations, not just to catch or meet a flight? Now you can do that again, with Espacios & Lines, an exhibition of artworks by 16 artists from both sides of the border, mostly spread out along the main floor of Terminal 2 and on view through the end of the year. It’s a great response to the designation of the San Diego-Tijuana region as World Design Capital 2024. 

Maurice and I were lucky enough to join a preliminary tour of the exhibition earlier this month, led by Daniel Dennert, curator of the airport arts program, who shared stories about the artists, their materials, and their processes. Here’s a look at some of our favorites.


Night-time lighting gives Becky Guttin's piece a magical glow after dark.
Photo courtesy of San Diego International Airport.

 One of four figures featured in painted acrylic panels on canvas backgrounds by Laura Lehman, who was born in the U.S. and raised in Mexico. Each panel portrays a common scene from one side of the border and viewers are encouraged to imagine switching characters and backgrounds.
Location: Terminal 2 East, Gate 28.

Artist Kelly Witmar, based in Joshua Tree, turns rusted-out car parts into engaging sculptures.
Location: Terminal 2 East, pre-Security. East End Gallery.

An upcycled jacket by Chicana fashion designer Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski, famed for her unique studio/shop in Barrio Logan, Sew Loca. (Get it?) Her motto: “Sewing is Life.”

 Beside Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski’s SD jacket: a display of its components.
Location: Terminal 2 West, pre-Security. Corridor exhibit cases.

 Tim Novara is a San Diego-based artist with a background in architecture. In this elegant multi-layered piece he uses mirroring, drawing, and acrylic painting to give an inspired new existence to what he saw in his local photographs.
Location: Terminal 2 West. Gate 33 cases. 

 A moving portrayal of indigenous Mexican women by Irene Monárrez, a mixed media artist from Juarez who now lives in Chula Vista.
Terminal 2 East. Transition Corridor.

 Hugo Crosthwaite is a multi-award-winning artist who was born in Tijuana, raised in Rosarito, and graduated from San Diego State University. After winning a national competition and commission from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, he created a stop-motion-drawing-animation of Dr. Anthony Fauci that now hangs in the Smithsonian. He loves working in black-and-white, but here his use of color vividly brings the town he grew up in to life. 
Photo courtesy of San Diego International Airport.
Location: Terminal 2 West. North Concourse.


All the artworks in Espacios & Lines invite up-close contemplation, and have informative placards close by. Keep an eye out for the useful and attractive exhibition brochures; you’re welcome to take one home as a souvenir. 

If not listed above as “pre-Security” all locations are “post-Security,” but the airport offers occasional tours of the exhibition. If you’re interested, the next one is Thursday, June 20; contact for details. Or come early for your next flight, pick up a brochure, and you can browse through the art on your own. 


Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has been writing about arts and lifestyles in San Diego County for over a dozen years. You can reach her at

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