Air Force art lands at Rosa Parks Museum: City, Maxwell team up to honor Air Force’s 66th birthday

by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs

8/23/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- In celebration of the Air Force's 66th birthday, Maxwell and Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum will house an Air Force art exhibit from Sept. 5-30.

The paintings from the U.S. Air Force art collection were selected from various locations at Maxwell and Gunter.

They depict the evolution of air power, chronicling the beginnings of flight with the Wright Brothers' "Flyer," through the World Wars, Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars and Southwest Asia conflict, ending with the stealth-technology fighter, the F-22 Raptor.

The exhibit also includes paintings of individuals who contributed to air power development and Airmen who served in the Army Air Corps and Air Force. They include Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Jr., the Air Force's first African American four-star general, Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, three-time ace across two wars, and Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault, who in 1932 was a pursuit aviation instructor at Maxwell.

Retired Col. Al Allenback, a local civic leader, sees the art exhibit as opportunity to increase awareness of Maxwell's history and solidify the bond between Montgomery and the base.

"There is a direct link between the Wright Brothers' first commercial flying school in 1910 and what is now Maxwell Air Force Base since the Wright's school was operated where the base is now," Allenback said.

Allenback serves as a board member on the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts and was the 42nd Air Base Wing commander at Maxwell-Gunter from 1998 to 2001.

"Each painting has been carefully selected to show the history and development of airpower by depicting the people, planes and events of the last 110 years of powered flight. Students and young adults should find this exhibit especially educational and inspirational, with all of the rich history behind every photo," Allenback said.

"I hope that this exhibit will make the close relationship between Montgomery and Maxwell Air Force Base even closer," he said.

Museum officials are equally pleased with the presence of Air Force art downtown.

"I am excited about the exhibit because it gives us an opportunity to showcase artwork that we otherwise would not be able to exhibit under normal circumstances," said Georgette Norman, director of the museum.

"The city has a long history of working with the Air Force, and right now is an opportune time to share some of that history and appreciation with the citizenry of Montgomery," she said.

According to Dr. Robert Kane, Air University historian, Maxwell-Gunter has the second largest collection of Air Force art, with more than 625 pieces displayed throughout its facilities. The largest collection of Air Force art resides at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.