Door County artist David Ray received a Public Service Award from U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Linda Fagan for his painting “Sturgeon Bay – Training for Rescues” during a July 13 ceremony at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.
Ray’s painting was one of 38 works by 25 artists that Fagan accepted on behalf of the Coast Guard into the Coast Guard Art Program’s (COGAP) permanent collection. She oversees all U.S. Coast Guard operations and personnel across the globe.
The COGAP uses fine art as an outreach tool to educate diverse audiences about this branch of the military because art provides visual testimony to the Coast Guard’s contributions to the nation through its multifaceted role as a military, humanitarian and law-enforcement organization.
Art from the program is exhibited in museums nationwide, as well as in the offices of Congress members, cabinet secretaries, senior government officials, Coast Guard leaders and other military services. The State Department has also displayed art overseas through its Art in Embassies program.
As a member of the COGAP, Ray was invited to the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Canal Station facility to meet those who serve there and gain firsthand experience with how crews deploy the Canal Station equipment and boats. Inspired by the visit, Ray created his painting, which depicts a response boat engaged in a search-and-rescue training exercise near the Canal Station.
“I had the opportunity of being aboard Response Boat 45672 and was immediately impressed with its high-performance capabilities and advanced technology,” Ray said about the inspiration for his painting. “Most remarkable and impressive, however, were the crew. These men and women use their skills, knowledge, experience and bravery to fulfill the mission of keeping us safe in the waters of Door County. This is true of Coast Guard service members across the globe.
“It is my intention that the painting portrays the amazing dynamics and power of the response boat, but, more so, accurately portrays the men and women who bring the response boat to life in order to save lives, and in so doing, often risk their own.”
The 2023 collection was on display at the Salmagundi Club through July; then it moved to the Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City, where it will be on exhibit through Sept. 28.