Long Beach Municipal Airport: Clement Mosaics – Long Beach CA

Description

Floor mosaics depicting a variety of images pertaining to aviation can be found throughout the Long Beach Airport Terminal. They were created for the terminal in 1939-41 by then 28-year-old artist Grace Richardson Clements.  Clements was hired through the Work Projects Administration (WPA)’s Federal Art Project.

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram: “For years, works of art lay hidden beneath the feet of millions of passengers who annually frequent the Long Beach Airport. It wasn’t until recently, when the airport’s maintenance team was restoring the terminal, that the 1941 mosaics by Works Progress Administration artist Grace Clements were found underneath old carpeting. Found throughout the Art Deco airport’s first floor, Clements’ ceramic floor tile mosaics of a large global map, birds, a ship, an oil well and a hand dialing a telephone are a tribute to the city’s aviation, oil and communications origins.”

Long Beach declared the terminal (mostly unchanged since 1941) a cultural landmark in 1990. 

Source notes

Gerrie Schipske. Early Aviation in Long Beach. 2009: 10.

Karen Robes Meeks, "Vintage mosaics uncovered on Long Beach Airport's floor," Long Beach Press Telegram, November 29, 2012

Lindsay William-Ross, "Photos: Historic 1941 Mosaics Uncovered at Long Beach Airport," LAist, November 29, 2012

Brandon Richardson, "Preserving the past: Work begins on Long Beach Airport's Historic Terminal." Long Beach Business Journal,  September 20, 2022. https://lbbusinessjournal.com/news/preserving-the-past-work-begins-on-long-beach-airports-historic-terminal-building

Project originally submitted by Gray Brechin on August 30, 2010.

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Location Info


4100 E Donald Douglas Dr.
Long Beach, CA 90808

Coordinates: 33.818296, -118.144577

3 comments on “Long Beach Municipal Airport: Clement Mosaics – Long Beach CA

  1. You state this is the work of “28 year old” artist Grace Clements. When were the mosaics on the floors created? (This is very interesting and I have posted it on my Long Beach CA board on pinterest.)

    • Hi, glad to know you’re spreading the word about these mosaics! According to the sources we list, they were created in 1941.

      • Thank you for answering my question.
        Interesting the decision to cover these beautiful mosaics with carpeting and then losing track that they were ever there. So wonderful they have been found and restored. Have you thought about posting photos to the Long Beach Facebook page?

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