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 21) through Labor Day (Sept. 5).
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across the United States. Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve.
Although admission to the museum is always free, the Museum Shop is offering a 10 percent 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. 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. 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 our 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. You can find “Recognizing Artist Soldiers” at georgiamuseum.org, under the “online exhibitions” tab.
The exhibition “Graphic Eloquence: American Modernism on Paper from the Collection of Michael T. Ricker,” on view in person through Sept. 4, also includes several artists who served in the military and made work about their experiences. Rudolph von Ripper, for example, went out of his way to fight Nazis even before he was imprisoned as a political enemy. He made antifacist drawings, joined the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War and eventually signed up with the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He started off creating posters for the Office of War Information and ended up interrogating German prisoners in North Africa and tracking down Nazis after the war.
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 as is a parent toolkit for families visiting museums.