Virtual Coast Guard art exhibit highlights service, missions

HOUSTON — The United States Coast Guard’s art collection now appears as an online exhibit at the Houston Maritime Education Center and Museum. The virtual exhibit offers the public the opportunity to explore four years of Coast Guard art and provides a fascinating look at the many ways in which the Coast Guard contributes to this nation. This is the largest exhibition of Coast Guard art ever to appear in one museum.

The full collection is available on the museum’s website and is publicly accessible at

The Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions are highlighted in more than 130 works by nearly 60 Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP) member artists from around the country. Although the words “U.S. Coast Guard” often conjure images of rescue swimmers and orange helicopters or aid given to distressed boaters and fisherman, the missions and duties of this military service are far more numerous and versatile. They range from national defense to environmental protection, and from search and rescue to maintaining aids to navigation and port security.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, this exhibit is a volume that tells the Coast Guard story as seen through the artists’ brushes and paints. COGAP art gives visual testimony to the unique contribution the Service makes to the nation in its multifaceted roles as a military, humanitarian and law enforcement organization,” said Rear Admiral Jon Hickey, director of Governmental and Public Affairs at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington.

“This marks the first time ever we have been able to provide such an extensive body of work on the role of a military service virtually to our visitors,” said Leslie Bowlin, the Houston Maritime Museum’s CEO. “We were delighted to work with the Coast Guard in bringing this exhibition to our members and internet visitors safely, especially during this time of the pandemic.”

Coast Guard Art 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. Coast Guard artists—a talented cadre of professional artists—donate their work to the program. Today, the collection comprises over 2,000 works showing the missions performed by the service’s force of 43,330 active duty members. This year marks the program’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about the Coast Guard Art Program, visit:

For more information about the Houston Maritime Museum, visit:

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