This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Coast Guard Art Program. Co-founded by esteemed military artist George Gray in 1981, COGAP and the more than 1,800 works of fine art in its collection are a testament to the rich traditions, history and people of the United States Coast Guard.
“The Coast Guard Art Program was created to record the service in action and to depict its myriad contributions to our country,” said MaryAnn Bader, coordinator of the Coast Guard Art Program. “While pieces received in earlier years tended to portray Coast Guard assets and history, more recent works capture the experience of actual service in the Coast Guard at a very human level.”
Coast Guard art is exhibited in museums, galleries, libraries and Coast Guard facilities across the nation. Pieces from the collection are also prominently displayed in federal buildings including the Pentagon, U.S. embassies and Congress. Collectively, these works of art serve as an outreach tool educating diverse audiences about the service, its missions and the 42,000 men and women who wear the Coast Guard uniform.
“Look into our paintings and we will take you to the edge of danger, bring you the suspense of the unknown, the anxious moments of a search and rescue, to the relief of a successful mission and return home,” said Karen Loew, chair of the COGAP committee of the Salmagundi Club – one of the nation’s most prestigious art and cultural centers and sponsor of the program since its inception.
Next week, the Salmagundi Club will host the acceptance ceremony for the 2011 Coast Guard Art Program Collection. Thirty-one pieces of art by 26 artists from across the country make up this year’s collection. Their works portray many of the service’s missions and take you inside two unprecedented Coast Guard responses – the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest oil spill our nation’s history.
“Bravery is the Coast Guard career,” said Loew. “Recording it for posterity is the duty and honor of each artist. Our works are visual and emotional thank yous to the ever-inspirational Coast Guard.”
You can view and download high-resolution images of the 2011 COGAP collection by clicking here. If you are in New York City this summer and want to see the collection in person, it will be displayed at the Salmagundi Club from July 3 to July 15 and will then move to Federal Hall from July 20 through August 6.