On Thursday, June 23, the Hollywood Burbank Airport installed a banner featuring Burbank High School junior Taylor Castile’s artwork on its terminal tower, where the banner will remain until the end of August. The artwork features five planes from different eras flying across an orange background, as Burbank’s first-place winner in the Hollywood Burbank Airport’s 2016 Tower Banner Student Art Contest. This year’s contest theme was “History of Aviation.”
“The Tower Banner Student Art Contest is a highlight for everyone—for the students, for their teachers and families, for the airport and for airport passengers,” said Lucy Burghdorf, the Director of Public Affairs and Communications at Hollywood Burbank Airport. “Each work that’s displayed on the terminal tower is seen by nearly a million airport visitors as they arrive and depart.”
The airport has sponsored the annual Tower Banner Student Art Contest since 2007. The contest is open to high school students in the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena Unified School Districts. Each year, students are given a different aviation-related theme on which to base their artwork, and arts educators and public art commissioners from each of the three cities select the three winning pieces. First-place winners from Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena have their work hung on the airport’s terminal tower, while second- and third-place winners’ artwork is displayed in the airport’s Terminal B hallway.
In addition, the airport presents each school district with a $3,000 check to promote arts education programs. Since the program’s inception, the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena Unified School Districts have each received $25,500, for a grand total of $76,500.
“This is just one of the ways the airport gives back to the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena communities,” Burghdorf said. “We think it’s a great opportunity for students to be creative and to learn about aviation at the same time, especially since the airport has always had such an important presence here in Burbank. We’re happy to support that creativity and education.” Burbank students’ artwork represented 85 of this year’s 219 total entries, the highest number of entries across all three districts.
All three of Burbank’s 2016 winners hail from instructor James Bentley’s art classes at Burbank High School. Ninth-grader Sophie Mazzarelli received second place honors, while senior Caroline Adams placed third. The 2014 and 2015 Burbank first-place winners, Angus Crosby and Anyssa Payaslyan respectively, were also Bentley’s students.
Bentley has applauded the airport’s continued support of arts education. “This was about learning,” he told the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority during last year’s presentation of the winning artwork, which focused on the theme of “Great Moments in Flight.” “It was an education on the history of flight, the greatness of humanity’s achievement. I look forward to these young artists […] designing and building the future.”
The upcoming academic year, with the announcement of the winners in March 2017, will mark the tenth anniversary of the Tower Banner Student Art Contest. Although next year’s contest theme isn’t certain yet, Burghdorf says it will likely be related to the airport’s new Hollywood Burbank brand identity, which the Airport Authority voted to adopt in May of this year.
“Film and aviation have historically been two of the most prominent industries in this community,” Burghdorf said. “I think if we gave students a theme related to the combination of those two industries, they’d create some really amazing art.”