The Georgia Museum of Art will participate this summer in Blue Star Museums, a program organized by the National Endowment for the Arts that offers free admission and special discounts to military personnel and their families from Armed Forces Day (May 20) through Labor Day (Sept. 4).
Blue Star Museums is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families, in collaboration with the Department of Defense and participating museums across the United States.
“We thank the 2023 Blue Star Museums who invite military personnel and their families to experience the many wonders they have to offer, whether it’s a glimpse into the past, an encounter with awe-inspiring art or a moment of discovery,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “The Georgia Museum of Art is helping to enrich the lives of military families and build meaningful connections between our nation’s military and their local community.”
Although admission to the museum is always free, the Museum Shop is offering a 10% discount for military personnel and their families. The museum’s online exhibition “Recognizing Artist Soldiers in the Permanent Collection” is available on the museum’s website and has been updated with new artists since last summer (including Peter Hurd, Rico LeBrun, Morton Traylor and William J. Thompson). The exhibition includes artists who served in conflicts from the Revolutionary War through the Korean War and is organized chronologically.
Each work of art includes details about the artist’s military service, from Paul Revere’s use of engineering skills to measure cannonballs to James McNeill Whistler’s expulsion from West Point for long hair and a bad attitude to war artists like John Singer Sargent and William Aylward. The painter Jacob Lawrence was drafted into the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. At first, he served in a segregated regiment, but in 1944 he joined the first racially integrated crew on the cutter Sea Cloud. He worked as an artist to document military life as he traveled to Europe with the crew. The exhibition highlights these stories and others, enriching the picture of both military and artistic life. The exhibition also contains a link to a contact form through which visitors can submit ideas for other artists to include. Guests can find “Recognizing Artist Soldiers” at georgiamuseum.org, under “online exhibitions.”
The exhibition “Southern/Modern,” on view in person June 17 through Dec. 10, also includes several artists who served in the military or made work about it. Robert Neal’s painting “Rearguard,” for example, pays homage to African American soldiers who fought in the Korean War. Its subject Private First Class William Thompson, who died in combat on Aug. 6, 1950, after he stood his ground during a North Korean attack on his platoon.
The Museum Shop discount is available to anyone with a military ID-which includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps and their family members.
The nationwide list of participating museums is available at https://www.arts.gov/initiatives/blue-star-museums.