October 25 marks International Artists Day, a holiday celebrating and acknowledging the power of art. This occasion should have special meaning for members of the Coast Guard given the rich artistic tradition of the service. The Coast Guard Arts Program (COGAP) continues to honor this tradition by educating the public about the Coast Guard through nationwide museum outreach.
Founded 41 years ago, COGAP has a 2022 collection of 38 works of art created by 27 talented artists, with thousands more works in its archive.
“We want the workforce to know that what they do every day is commemorated in art through our program,” said COGAP coordinator Mary Ann Bader. “We value the contributions of our Coast Guard artists, all of whom volunteer their time and artwork to the service. It’s an honor for us and it’s something we deeply appreciate.
Just as art has changed, so have COGAP’s curatorial goals. “One of the most important aspects of COGAP’s evolution is that we care about showing what the workforce does every day,” Bader said. “Previously, our collections only highlighted strengths and highlights. Today, we’re focused on showcasing the service members who power it every day.
For decades, COGAP has helped place artists in the field to help spark the creative process. COGAP will continue to inspire artists by providing deployment opportunities across the country.
Given the complications created by the pandemic, this year’s batch of deployments is particularly exciting, Bader noted. “We look forward to restoring some of these deployments. They give Coast Guard artists the opportunity to see firsthand what the service does and why it is so important.
The famous artist Paul Cézanne once said that “we don’t put ourselves in the place of the past, we only add a new link”. COGAP will continue to link the Coast Guard’s history to its present and future. The service core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty will be preserved and depicted on canvases for years to come.
High resolution images of all pieces of the Coast Guard Art Collection from 2016 to 2022 are now available on DVIDS, and you can view them here.
For more information on the program, click on here. If you have any questions, please contact Mary Ann Bader.
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