Our Special Congratulations Go Out To:
The American Society of Aviation Artists 31 years old
Celebrating 31 Years and Still Growing:
The seed was planted in California in 1981 during a meeting with R.G. Smith, his assistant at Douglas Aircraft, Norma Bert, Ren Wicks, Keith and Peggy Ferris. They discussed and came to the conclusion that an aviation art group should be organized. The biggest questions were how to do this and who would lead the effort. Norma was going to begin, but health conditions interfered and she had to step aside. Nothing happened until 1983 when Luther Gore organized his well-attended “Summer Camp” for aviation artists at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville.
The enthusiasm from those attending proved that it was time to form an organization for aviation artists. We obtained by-laws from the Cowboy Artists of America, the British Guild of Aviation Artists, the Society of Illustrators, the Marine Artists and the New York Artist’s Equity. Studying these by-laws, and conferring with others on their experiences we tried to pick items that would help us as an organization and discard those that would not fit into our goals. It took about three years, (remember we didn’t have computers or cell phones) to develop by-laws on which the five Founders agreed. In 1986 with Founders Ren, R.G., Keith, Bob McCall and Jo Kotula all in agreement, the American Society of Aviation Artists was launched. Letters were sent out to as many aviation artists that we could name and twenty-five responded to become Charter Members.
Through the years the organization has grown to welcome artist members from around the world and to hold annual Forums and Juried Exhibitions. Many venues have welcomed us across the United States and as far away as Ottawa, Canada and London, England. Lasting friendships have formed, wonderful art has been exhibited, many members of our Forum faculty have come forward to inform, inspire and support artists to improve their skills, knowledge, research, and techniques and to enhance the goals of ASAA.
In 1993 ASAA ushered in the Scholarship Program to mentor individual artists who wish to improve the quality of their art. The year 2000 saw the introduction of the ASAA Website on the internet. asaa-avart.org
ASAA has made an impression on the art and aviation world with many honors for our members and the society itself. In 2006 ASAA was honored at the National Aviation Hall of Fame by receiving the Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award. Our Aero Brush newsletter started out with four pages and has now turned into a handsome, quarterly Journal (with color) dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and public appreciation of aerospace art.
In December of 1995, the late James V. Roy, a WW II Army Air Force B-26 Marauder pilot, subsequent manufacture’s rep and serious art collector, in the interest of raising the standards of aviation art, bequeathed a sizeable sum of money to ASAA to sustain an annual monetary award for the best painting by an ASAA member in our annual exhibition. The James V. Roy Award, is the highest single monetary award presented at each annual exhibition.
The year 2000 began the partnership between ASAA and Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine in which AW&ST selects and provides a monetary award for the Best of the Best, in each ASAA annual exhibition and 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners in each of four categories, Military, Commercial, General Aviation and Space. The winners are featured each year in the year-end special Photo and Aviation Art issue of the magazine
ASAA is very appreciative of the sustaining support that we have received through the years from Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine, aerospace industry sponsors, Pratt & Whitney, the Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Sabre Systems, Sikorsky, CAE SimuFlite, and Artist Fellow Jack Fellows (for the Duane Whitney Martin award), and Women In Aviation. 2007 brought a particularly welcome new type of sponsorship. Many local firms and organizations in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor participated as hosts and/or sponsors for our Forum and Exhibition in the International Pier of the Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport.
A Few Facts about ASAA
- Of the 17 R.G. Smith Awards for Excellence in Naval Aviation Art selected by the National Museum of Naval Aviation—-12 have been ASAA artists.
- Of the 13 artists who have been SimuFlite Best of Show winners—all but one have been ASAA members.
- Many EAA Art Contest winners have been ASAA members.
- 2011 will be the 25th Annual ASAA International Aviation Art Forum.
- ASAA’s juried Exhibition is the only annual US exhibition for Aviation Art.
- 18 different venues from the East Coast to the West Coast and points in between have hosted ASAA Forums as well as have Ottawa, Canada and London, England.
- 23 annual juried exhibitions, plus one special exhibition in which 1,212 paintings,
27 sculptures and 1 etching were exhibited.
- There are 24 or more monetary awards given at each juried exhibition.
- Five Founders’ Awards are now presented at the un-juried attendees’ exhibit.
- Over $116,650 have been awarded in prize money by sponsors and ASAA.
- Approximately 96 different artists have won one or more monetary awards.
- Approximately 45 different artists have won one or more of the Founders’ Awards.
- Since 1986 there have been 95 issues of the Newsletter/Aero Brush published.
- 1993 was the publication year for the book “Aviation, a History Through Art” all art featured was from 32 ASAA members.
In 2006 The Board of Trustees of the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio selected the American Society of Aviation Artists to receive the Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight Award”.
The Hall of Fame stated:
“The American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA) brings together artists, international included, sharing a commitment to the pursuit of excellence in visually capturing and sharing aviation and aerospace subjects. The ASAA challenges itself to the unique creation of works in all media, whether chronicling actual events or letting their imaginations soar.”