FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Diving missions, helicopter landings and other dramatic Coast Guard moments inspired a new art exhibit that opened Federal Hall just in time for the Fourth of July.
The Coast Guard Art Program's show, which launched July 3, features 30 paintings by 23 artists, all portraying life in the Coast Guard and its missions.
“It’s through our eyes,” said Petty Officer Second Class Sara Romero, who helped with the show. “You feel like you’re there.”
The Coast Guard Art Program, a partnership between the Coast Guard and New York’s Salmagundi Art Club, has been cultivating military-themed artwork since 1980. This year's pieces were chosen by a jury that focused on paintings showing the diverse day-to-day tasks of Coast Guard members of all ranks.
The Coast Guard Art Program deploys several artists a year on missions with Coast Guard units to take their own research photos, but most of the artists work from photos they find on the Coast Guard's database, said Karen Loew, a painter and illustrator from Washington Heights who helped coordinate the exhibit.
“We think of ourselves as visual historians,” said Loew, who traveled to Guantanamo Bay with the program in 2002. “It’s our way of saying thank you.”
Loew has two pieces on display in this year’s exhibition. One shows a Coast Guard member holding a Haitian child after a hurricane hit the country in 2010. The other shows Coast Guard officers working to clear the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel of water after Hurricane Sandy.
Other local artists represented in the show include Brooklyn-based Leendert Van Der Pool, who is originally from the Netherlands, and Long Island’s Charles Van Horn. His watercolor painting, “Hero’s Week,” depicts a Coast Guard lieutenant addressing a class of second-graders from Sandy Hook, N. J.
The Coast Guard Art Program’s exhibit will be on display at Federal Hall, 26 Wall St., through Sept. 9.