Coast Guard presents George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence

Coast Guard Headquarters NewsWASHINGTON — U.S. Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP) artist Leendert van der Pool received the George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence at a ceremony Thursday at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.

Van der Pool, of Brooklyn, New York, was selected as the recipient of the George Gray Award — the equivalent of a “Best In Show” award — for “Partnership,” his oil painting of the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Spar conducting a training exercise between two ships. The artwork was selected from among 28 works by 23 artists of COGAP.

These artworks illustrate the myriad missions performed by the U.S. Coast Guard, including dramatic search and rescues, environmental protection and drug interdiction operations. One of the highlights of this year’s art program is having two active duty Coast Guardsmen contributing their artworks to the show. The complete collection of artworks will be on view at the Salmagundi Club now through July 20, 2018, and at Federal Hall National Memorial, 26 Wall Street, New York City, from July 24 through Sept. 27, 2018.

“Art speaks directly to the soul,” said Rear Adm. Melissa Bert, the director of Coast Guard Governmental and Public Affairs. “In their remarkable works, our members have captured in a way words cannot the vital contribution the Coast Guard makes to the nation and its people. At the same time, it lets our servicemembers know that what they do every day merits being chronicled in works of art because what they do is nothing short of art.”

An additional 27 works from previous years will be on display at the exhibit. Twelve of the 2018 works and many of the older pieces were created by New York City Metro area artists.

COGAP makes use of fine art to educate diverse audiences about the Coast Guard as it works to maintain the nation’s security at home and abroad and execute its 11 statutory missions such as search and rescue, defense readiness and drug and illegal migrant interdiction. COGAP art provides visual testimony to the unique contribution the service makes to the nation in its multifaceted roles as a military, humanitarian and law enforcement organization.

Art from the program is exhibited at museums around the country. It is also displayed in offices of members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, senior government officials and other military services and Coast Guard locations nationwide.

COGAP is a talented cadre of professional artists who donate their work to the program. Today, the collection comprises more than 2,000 works showing the missions performed by the military service’s 42,000 active duty members.

This year marks COGAP’s 37th anniversary. Since its inception, the Salmagundi Club has been its sponsor. The Salmagundi Club is located at 47 Fifth Avenue in New York City and the exhibition is free and open to the public. It can be seen Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

To learn more about COGAP and the Salmagundi Club, visit www.uscg.mil/art and www.salmagundi.org/.

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