Coast Guard Art Program

Art Program Frequently Asked Questions


Collapse All Expand All
 About the Coast Guard Art Program

Since the beginning of civilization, mankind has been recording its battles and conquests in the form of art. The stories and outcomes of conflicts can be seen in tablets from Mesopotamia dating back to 3000 B.C., in Egyptian art from 1190 B.C. and in the art of many cultures: Aztec, Mayan, Indian, Chinese, Greek and Roman to name but a few. Even with the advent of modern methods of narration and documentation, art continues to offer a unique and compelling way to immortalize the contributions of America’s military services to the nation.

The Coast Guard’s art program is among the youngest of the art programs run by a military service. It traces its beginning back to 1980 when artist George Gray was chair of the Navy Art Cooperation and Liaison Committee at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. When the Navy phased out this program, the Coast Guard asked Gray to create a similar program for the service. From the start, the Salmagundi Club sponsored the art program providing invaluable support and artistic guidance. By having such a renowned and respected cultural entity as sponsor, the once fledging art program was given prestige it otherwise would not have initially enjoyed.

Today the collection comprises some 1,950 works of art, with the majority being paintings. While there are works depicting combat, there are many others that show Coast Guard sea and air assets and Coast Guard service members in action as they conduct the myriad missions of the service.

Coast Guard artists, many of whom are professional artists, volunteer their time and talents to visually tell the Coast Guard’s story. They give their works to the service—and by extension, to the nation—and receive no compensation. Every year, artist members are asked to submit works for that year’s collection. A jury is convened in New York City in the beginning of the year to review the submissions. Only those of the highest artistic merit and accuracy in depicting missions are accepted into that year’s collection.  

In the summer, the annual inaugural exhibition of new work is held at the Salmagundi Club. During the opening reception an acceptance ceremony is held and new art is officially given to the Coast Guard and accepted by the service.

The program organizes exhibitions of work in the collection at museums and other public venues across the nation. Art is also displayed at Coast Guard Headquarters, units in the field and for major Coast Guard events such as the Change of Command for the Commandant and the State of the Coast Guard address. Coast Guard art can also be found on display in offices of members of Congress, senior officials of the executive branch of government and other military services.

 How can museums and other public venues request Coast Guard art for an exhibition in their community?
Contact Coast Guard Art Program Coordinator Mary Ann Bader at 202‐372‐4643 or by email at and she will be happy to discuss exhibition possibilities with you.
 How can Coast Guard units request art for an exhibition?
Because of growing demands for public exhibitions in museums and other major venues, the rules governing the lending of original art are now stricter than in the past. Please contact Coast Guard Art Program Coordinator Mary Ann Bader at 202‐372‐4643 or by email at and she will be happy to review your request.
 About the Salmagundi Club, COGAP's sponsor
Following a tradition of over 140 years, the Salmagundi Club serves as a center for artists from New York and around the country. It offers exhibitions of paintings, sculpture and photography; conducts art classes and painting demonstrations and holds auctions of member artists’ work throughout the year. Originally formed as the New York Sketch Club in 1871, the club adopted its present name over 100 years ago from Washington Irving’s Salmagundi Papers, a satirical periodical Irving co‐authored. Through the years, the club has been the gathering place for important artists such as Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, N. C. Wyeth, Charles Dana Gibson, and many others. Honorary members have included Sir Winston Churchill, Buckminster Fuller and Thomas Hoving. To learn more, please visit the club’ website at
 Copyright information and use of images for commercial purposes
Please note that all images of art displayed at this official U.S. Coast Guard website and at all other official U.S. Coast Guard websites are displayed solely for official U.S. Coast Guard purposes. The U.S. Coast Guard has sole copyright protection and all other ownership rights in all such displayed art. No person or entity is permitted to use any displayed U.S. Coast Guard art for any commercial purpose without the express written consent of the U.S. Coast Guard.  If you seek to use images for a commercial project, please contact Coast Guard Art Program Coordinator Mary Ann Bader at 202-372-4643 or by email at