WASHINGTON — Coast Guard Art Program artist Ken Smith received the George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence at a ceremony Thursday at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.

Smith, from Pulaski, Virginia, was selected as the recipient of the George Gray Award for his work, "Lifeline," a 30-inch by 22.5-inch oil on canvas painting depicting two female Coast Guard members on a response boat as they coil lines used to retrieve victims from the water.  

Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Charles Michel also formally accepted 33 works of art by 29 artists into the program's 2017 collection at the ceremony.

"These artists have captured, in a way that mere words cannot, the vital contributions our Coast Guard servicemembers make to the nation and its people," said Michel. "At the same time, the efforts of these artists indicate to our members that what they do every day merits being captured in works of art. I am truly honored to accept each of these 33 masterpieces into our collection. These are truly striking contributions to our visual history."

This year marks the Coast Guard Art Program's 36th anniversary. The Salmagundi Club has been its sponsor since the program's inception in 1981. The 2017 collection will be on display until July 28 at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

The Coast Guard Art Program makes use of fine art to educate diverse audiences about the Coast Guard as the service addresses an abundance of challenges as it works to maintain the nation's security at home and abroad. The program provides a unique way to highlight the service's 11 statutory missions, including defense readiness, drug and illegal migrant interdiction, search and rescue, environmental protection and aids to navigation servicing, among many other duties. Selections from the collection's 2,000 original artworks are regularly exhibited around the country and displayed in the offices of the members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, senior government officials and Coast Guard locations nationwide.

To learn more about the Coast Guard Art Program, visit www.uscg.mil/art.