Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Historic 1941 Mosaics Uncovered at Long Beach Airport

Our June member drive is live: protect this resource!
Right now, we need your help during our short June member drive to keep the local news you read here every day going. This has been a challenging year, but with your help, we can get one step closer to closing our budget gap. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership.

Something is afoot at the Long Beach Airport, and in this case, they're asking passengers to please look down. A recent renovation at the facility has led to the uncovering of historic mosaic tiling put in back in 1941 by Works Progress Administration (WPA) artist, Grace Clements.

The tile project was part of an overall expansion of the airfield in Long Beach which included putting in the terminal, which was designed by architects W. Horace Austin and Kenneth S. Wing. Sr. It's unclear when the mosaics were first covered over.

The City of Long Beach elaborates on the artwork that was created to represent the city's "origins in aviation, oil and communications":

The mosaics served as the finishing touches on the Airport's art deco style terminal building. Located throughout the first floor, they are in great condition, and include a large global map, birds, a ship, an oil well and a hand dialing a telephone.
Support for LAist comes from

A unique aspect of this particular WPA art project was that the style is a departure from the typical "realistic" renderings of the era; Clements instead opted to create mosaic mural art (on the floor!) that were more imaginative.

Most Read