Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flyin' High on Aviation Art...

I have just returned from the Air Force Art Program presentation of paintings, held Oct 20-24 at the National Museum of the USAF, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH. Seven artists from our group with their guests presented paintings, though only four artists from the membership attended the gala, by my count. Still, it was a pretty darn good turn out considering the change of venue. I have to admit, I never had any doubts about not visiting DC which has been the venue since I have been part of the program. Wright-Patterson, AFB? Dayton? No more DC Mall crawling, no more Virginia, no Brandywine, no more Georgetown?

Yes, but no more one night stands either. At the museum, our paintings will be on display at the Museum in Dayton until the eleventh of January. No more 24 hour shows at Bolling AFB which no one can see! Thousands can now see our artwork!

The proceedings this year were without incident. It began with a tour of the restoration hangar, just chocked full of airplane bits and pieces, all with a history attached. It is like a giant hobby store with models that are at a 1/1 scale. We then were given a tour of the presidential hangar, where there are many historical aircraft used by various presidents throughout twentieth century. The Museum complex itself is beyond any military museum I have ever seen anywhere. There was really not enough time to see everything in the entire museum, and I had over three days to see it. But, what I saw was grand.

At the invite of Mickey Harris, an artist that I have known for years but spent six days with at Barksdale, I received a special second tour of the restoration hangar to investigate further the restoration of the famous "Memphis Belle", B-17. Mickey, being from Tennessee, was instrumental in having the Belle sent to the museum for complete restoration and display. Our tour guide was Retired General Metcalf, ( the guiding force of the museum and the main man overseeing the restorations. ) who gave Mick and I the special treatment. His unique insights into the many projects and his own dynamic personality was well worth it.

This is the sixtieth anniversary of the Air Force Art Program. The presentation dinner was held Friday, October 22, in one of the main halls of the museum. A formal affair, we were seated under the wings of a B-52 and a C-124, where we given a very spirited and beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.  We were entertained with chamber music while we dined by Huffman Prairie Winds, which is a local group and a nice change from the U.S. Air Force Strolling Strings. The menu included seared Beef Loin in a Sherry sauce paired with a goat cheese stuffed Chicken Breast with a herb glaze over a a Potato Zucchini Cake. A mixed green salad with almonds, blue berries. strawberries and cherries mixed in a raspberry vinaigrette. For desert with coffee or tea, we had an assortment of tortes, mousse, white chocolate strawberries and such.

As mentioned in my personal blog,, the five hour ceremony ended all too soon and, in spite of my every effort to hold on to the good times, great art and good friends, we reluctantly left the museum with our plaques, seat favors and, soon to be, memories of a great night.

Of the many galas I have been a part of over the last thirty years, this one was my very own personal favorite.

For pictures, please go to:
These pics are personal property of mine, Elsy and Andy Moratoya, Norm Siegel, or the United States Air Force. All artwork was shot or scanned at 72 dpi and no larger than eight inches wide or tall and is the property and copyright of all artists involved or the property of the U.S. Air Force Art Collection. All rights reserved.

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