Hollywood Burbank Airport announces art contest winners

Burbank Airport Tower Banner Winners & C-17(© Ross A Benson)
The Hollywood Burbank Airport Tower Banner first-place winners are, from left, Serrineh Khachatourians from Crescenta Valley High School, Nazeli Khodaverdyan from Burbank High and Brooklynn Alfred from Pasadena High.
(Ross A. Benson)

Images of the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson will be on display in rotation at Hollywood Burbank Airport in the coming months, thanks to some talented high school artists.

Airport officials announced the winners of the airfield’s 12th annual Tower Banner Art Contest during a meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday, and commissioners got their first look at the artwork that will be enlarged and hung on the tower at Terminal A at various times throughout the next 12 months.

The theme of this year’s contest was “Heroes of Aviation” and challenged participating high school students from the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena school districts to think about those who have pushed aviation forward, said airport spokeswoman Lucy Burghdorf.

A total of 172 entries were submitted in this year’s contest, and three winners were selected by each city’s respective arts and culture commissions.


Although all nine art pieces that were honored will be put on display in Terminal B over the next year, only pieces by the first-place winners from each school district will have their creations placed on the Terminal A tower for thousands of people to see.

Burbank High sophomore Nazeli Khodaverdyan will see her digital illustration go up on the tower first, which will be some time in June. Her piece is a collage of several aviation icons — the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong and Charles Lindbergh.

Using Photoshop, her preferred art medium, Nazeli utilized Hollywood Burbank’s color palette and made each person look like a cartoon character.

“I wanted to go with more of a comic-book style, where the people pop with color,” she said. “I just wanted to make the whole thing pop.”


Serrineh Khachatourian, a junior at Crescenta Valley High School, will have her artwork hung on the tower next January. Her acrylic painting depicts a small boy wearing an aviator cap and goggles while playing with a toy plane.

Above his head is a thought bubble and, in it are the faces of Earhart, the Wright brothers and Bessie Coleman, the first woman of African American and Native American descent to be a pilot.

“A lot of people have a big interest in aviation, and it’s something that can have a big impact on us,” Serrineh said. “It was important for me to put a lot of effort into this because I know that a lot of people are going to see this, so hopefully it has an impact on the people that see it.”

Pasadena High junior Brooklynn Alfred will get to see her painting on the tower next March. Wanting to not use the same aviation heroes over again, she opted to highlight the African American women featured in the book and later the movie “Hidden Figures.”

Brooklynn’s painting features a space shuttle surrounded by various math equations. At the bottom of the piece are the faces of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson, mathematicians who helped NASA during the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union to achieve superior space-travel capabilities.

“By doing this, hopefully, they’re more known to people,” she said.

Twitter: @acocarpio