Art Association Presents Portraits to Veterans

For the sixth year, members of the Macon County Art Association Uptown Gallery presented portraits to 10 veterans and families as a part of their annual recognition of veterans. The Veterans Portrait Project is a program the gallery holds annually to honor veterans and recognize their service to our country.

This year, nine artists from the Macon County Arts Association (MCAA) volunteered their time and talent to paint the veterans’ portraits which were presented to the veterans or their families on Veteran’s Day. The art collection, which featured portraits created in several different mediums including watercolors, acrylic, oil, pastels and pencil, have been on display since the beginning of November.

Beginning on Memorial Day, MCAA has a call for applications for the next class of veterans to be recognized in the portrait project. The first ten veterans who submit their applications by Memorial Day will be selected to have their portrait painted. The remaining applicants will be saved for the next class. Through a lottery system held on the Fourth of July, the artists receive the veteran they are going to paint.

Artists requests photos and short biographies about veterans. Artists use the photo and biographies as well as additional information obtained through continued correspondence with the families or the veteran to create the portraits. Artists work on each portrait to be completed in time for the annual Veteran’s Day recognition.

Each portrait is framed by Creative Framing made possible by monetary contributions from portrait sponsors.

The artists presented their portrait to the veterans at the Veteran’s Day celebration at the art gallery. This encounter is often the first time the artist and veteran have gotten to meet each other face to face, although many have communicated via email or by phone to gain additional information needed by the artist to finish the portrait.

After the veteran is presented with his or her portrait, the veteran is then given the chance to share his or her military experience with the audience. If the veteran is no longer alive, a family member is given an opportunity to share what they remember about their veteran’s military experience.

The event culminated with a reception honoring the featured veterans and their families. A luncheon is made possible by the generous contributions of four patron sponsors – Wells Fargo, Phil and Sharon Drake, The Suminski Family, and Nantahala Physical Therapy.

For more information about the Veterans Project, contact the art gallery at

“We do the veterans portrait event each year, because it is a community service project we decided to do to recognize veterans,” said Karen Smith, Veterans Portrait Project Chair. “The portraits mean a lot to the veterans they cry, they talk about their service. It gives them a chance to get some sort of thanks for their service.”