Ken Smith, assistant professor of graphic design at Radford University and lauded historical artist, has won his third George Gray award, an annual recognition from the U.S. Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP).
Named for the co-founder of COGAP, the award recognizes outstanding artistic achievement in service of the Coast Guard. Smith's honor was announced during a ceremony in New York on June 6.
Smith's winning painting, titled "Steady as she goes," was initially submitted for inclusion in the 2013 COGAP art collection, which includes 29 works from 23 different artists. The paintings depict modern scenes from Coast Guard missions and training, and will be displayed across the country, from the halls of Congress to local libraries.
Before the art is displayed, one contributor each year is named best in show and receives the George Gray award.
The purpose of COGAP is to use fine art as an outreach tool for educating diverse audiences about the U.S. Coast Guard. Pieces in the collection tell the story of the service's missions, heroes and history of service to the public. Art is also displayed in offices of members of Congress, senior officials of the executive branch of government and other military services, and at Coast Guard locations nationwide.
George Gray served in the Coast Guard during World War II and worked as an artist for more than seven decades. During the Vietnam War, he spent six weeks sketching Marines in action for the U.S. Navy’s fine art program. Gray co-founded COGAP in 1981 and served as its chairman for more than 20 years. He died in 2004 at age 96.
Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.