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Charleston painter honors US veterans with new art exhibit

Published: Oct. 27, 2019 at 11:59 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - This weekend, a national art exhibit honoring veterans from across the country was unveiled at the city gallery.

On Sunday, nearly three dozen veterans were honored at the USS Yorktown to celebrate the exhibit, WE THE PEOPLE: Portraits of Veterans in America.

The exhibit by artist Mary Whyte has 50 watercolor paintings, each depicting a different veteran from each state in all walks of life.

“My hope is that this creates a greater appreciation between the public and our military,” Whyte said. “I think the thing that hit me the most was the sense of over righting honor that all of our veterans have and the sense of patriotism.”

One of the subjects is Winston Scott, a retired Navy pilot and NASA astronaut. He said he feels inspired by the project and hopes those who see it can connect with the people behind the paint.

“I hope they’ll see something inside one of these veterans that they can relate to,” Scott said. “They’ll look at a particular painting and say, ‘oh yeah, I can relate to that.’”

From Navy pilots-turned-astronauts, to army men-turned-dairy farmers like Darrell Kochis, the paintings are meant to show the diversity of the people who have served.

“It shows the world that we are very diversified from getting out of the military,” Kochis said. “When we get out, we had our jobs or things that we did in the military, but we learned a lot about coming back into civilian life and finding out where we need to be.”

The exhibit is at the city gallery until December 22. Then, it will travel on a three to four-year national tour.

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