Grace Church parishioner artist depicts Coast Guard at work

Grace Church parishioner Karen Loew has captured the work of the United Coast Guard in paintings for several years. She is also a major spearhead for the program, which is co-sponsored with the Salmagundi Club in Manhattan.

The 2014 exhibit began on June 22 and runs through July 5 at the Salmagundi Club’s Upper Gallery. From there, the show will move to other venues, including at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony took place on Thursday, June 26.

Coast Guard artists—most of whom are professional artists—volunteer their time and talents to help COGAP fulfill its missions. Today, the collection comprises 1,800 works which are primarily paintings. This artwork captures the daily missions that the nearly 42,500 men and women on active duty in the Coast Guard perform, including homeland security, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, drug interdiction, military readiness and natural resource management. Other works depict sea and air assets.

The program is a partnership between the Coast Guard and the Salmagundi Club, a New York City artistic and cultural center for 140 years. The Coast Guard welcomes requests for public displays of artwork. To learn more about bringing Coast Guard art to your hometown, please call the Coast Guard Art Program coordinator at 202-372-4643.

As COGAP Chair, Karen Loew is the liaison between the Salmagundi Club, which sponsors the program, and the United States Coast Guard. She is a recipient of the COGAP George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence and a regular contributor of her paintings to the program.

Karen Loew’s oil painting “Search light” in the 2014 COGAP juried exhibition. Photo courtesy of the artist

Loew, who has been active at Grace Church for many years, first learned about the Coast Guard Art Program after becoming a member of the program’s sponsor, the Salmagundi Club. She learned about COGAP through a new friend, Tom Picard, and applied for membership, according to the COGAP blogsite.

“I can still recall my surprise at the very first [Coast Guard Art Program] show I saw, how varied Coast Guard missions were – not just search and rescue, buoy tending and boat safety instruction,” said Loew.

Loew first became an artist for the Coast Guard Art Program while the Coast Guard was under the Department of Transportation and noted how much weight has been added to Coast Guard missions since transferring to the Department of Homeland Security.

In May of 2002, Loew was sent to Guantanamo Bay to observe a port security unit at work. “It was all business on this craft as the three-man crew, all individually armed, did harbor patrols,” said Loew. “The gravity of their mission was obvious.”After her trip, she created one of her first Coast Guard Art Program paintings: GTMO Morning.

Loew’s work is in numerous private collections and her Purchase Prize Award winner “Must Be Heaven” is included in the Curator’s Collection at Salmagundi Club, according to the club’s website. Her painting, “Search light,” is part of the Coast Guard Art Collection 2014.