Bob Hope Airport student art

The first place art piece featured at the Bob Hope Airport traffic control tower was designed by Burroughs High School arts students Jordan Lopez, Melissa Alfaro, Shushanik Hovakimyan, Rachel Verharst, Daniel Kerkotchian, and Breanna French under the instruction of John Burroughs High School teacher Bonnie Burrow (Courtesy of the Burbank Bob Hope Airport / January 13, 2014)

Travelers heading to Bob Hope Airport may notice a huge banner hanging from an air-traffic control tower depicting an airplane flying out of a glass jar filled with clouds.

The art piece was the vision of six student artists from John Burroughs High School, and was among three pieces chosen from 186 entries as winners of the airport’s Tower Banner Student Art Contest, with this year’s theme “The Sky’s the Limit.”

“It’s neat to know that hundreds of thousands [of] people… will get to see this artwork while traveling through,” said Jordan Lopez, who graduated last year and was involved in designing the piece. “It might inspire someone else to make their own artwork.”

The theme, he said, helped him convey the idea that there is no limit to where one can travel.

“It inspired me into thinking about the fact that there really is no limit to the imagination… If you could imagine it, you could travel there,” Lopez said, adding that he depicted the airplane as if it was “escaping from its glass prison into the limitless unknown.”

Fellow Burroughs arts students Melissa Alfaro, Shushanik Hovakimyan, Rachel Verharst, Daniel Kerkotchian and Breanna French helped Lopez design the piece, which will be on display until March.

The airport received 46 entries from students in Burbank, 77 from Glendale, and 63 from Pasadena. The arts and culture commissions of each city chose the winning pieces after the entries were narrowed down by each school district.

“It’s a wonderful way for students to get exposure and to see their art publicly hung,” said airport spokeswoman Lucy Burghdorf. “Teachers and art coordinators love the idea that students are able to showcase their art in a public venue.”

Lopez, who took four years of high school photography, plans to start his own business and pursue a career as a photographer.

As part of the competition, the airport gave each school district $3,000 to help fund its art programs. Since the contest began six years ago, each district has been awarded $16,500 for arts education, Burghdorf said.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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