The Gulf War Parade Down Michigan Avenue, 1991

Dearly Beloveds,

The Chicago Alliance of Visual Artists (CAVA) is having an exhibition at Chicago’s Old Town Triangle Art Center. The Center is in the heart of our Old Town neighborhood – historically storied for its internationally known visual artists; Ivan Albright, Edgar Miller, John Brown and more. It is still a mecca for art, artists and architects with the Old Town Art Center as its anchor.

Many returning soldiers of WWII found housing in Old Town. They were the artists and architects who began a rebirth of the houses and streets and as time went on became highly desirable property and a place to live.

CAVA, to celebrate this tradition of the arts in Old Town, has brought together area artists in a group exhibition opening Sunday August 9, 2 pm to 5 pm at the Old Town Triangle Gallery located at 1763 North Park. It is a juried show and I have been asked to have a painting as part of the Old Town exhibit. The invitation reads “We are inviting selected artists of note, such as yourself to be a part of the show.  We are looking for a piece that has some connection to the neighborhood and which reflects your unique style. Of course we will waive the entry fee.” from Patricia O’Malley, one of the organizers of the exhibition.

Out of the six digitals I presented for them, they chose “The Gulf War Parade Down Michigan Avenue, 1991”

"Gulf Parade Down Michigan Ave, 1991"

“Gulf Parade Down Michigan Ave, 1991”

The Gulf War, as you remember, was our first engagement with Hussein and Iraq. George H.W. Bush was president. 12 years later in 2003, President George W. Bush would send troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.

In my painting the parade is passing in front of the Art Institute where the dignitaries were gathered. The scud missile is depicted almost across from the Institute. It is identified by the balloons in red, white & blue that arch over the missile riding on its platform. The crowd cheered and cheered, wildly waving small flags or anything white as the deadly missile came into view. As I sketched and photographed, it was the young service men who stepped out so smartly, so intently with eyes straight ahead. It was they, so young, so manly, so American, so seemingly dedicated—our soldiers, spending their precious youth protecting our country, I waved, cheered and cried for them.

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About Illinois Artist Laureate Kay Smith

After completing my studies at the School of the Art Institute, I worked as an illustrator. As the 1976 Bicentennial approached there was a fever of interest in American history. In 1971, I was asked to illustrate a book on the American Revolutionary War period which required me to travel to historic locations to paint the actual scenes. As my travels crossed and crisscrossed the paths of the patriots, I entered their lives and was forever caught in the inescapable skeins of history and was thrust into the role of historical painter. What began as a single assignment has grown over the past 40-plus years into the largest collection of American historical-site paintings ever created by a single artist. To see these historical works and to learn more about The American Legacy Collection, please visit my website at: www.kaysmithartist.com. The American Legacy Collection is a dramatic panorama of this country's historical places and its defining moments. My original watercolors chronicle 500 years of the American experience and preserve with an artist's palette our American heritage.

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