Robyn Phillips-Pendleton, associate professor of art at the University of Delaware, is one of three artists commissioned by the military to document events related to the Jan. 21 presidential inauguration and create a series of paintings for future display.
The group of artists was commissioned by the 113th Wing of the District of Columbia Air National Guard to spend five days documenting official celebrations and ceremonies as well as some of the work of the Air National Guard. The National Guard describes the 113th Wing, also known as the "Capital Guardians," as having a unique mission in providing forces to defend the nation's capital.
"I am extremely excited and honored to have been chosen to create such important work that will capture such historical events," Phillips-Pendleton said. "The National Guard has never used artists before, so this will be a great introduction to this type of visual art and the power of storytelling."
She said the artists were selected by the Air Force Art Program of the Pentagon because of their experience and the diversity of their work. Her own background and artistic style is as an illustrator, gathering information to create work that tells a story and draws an emotional response.
The inauguration won't be Phillips-Pendleton's first mission with the military art program. After the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, she traveled there with the program and created paintings to put a human face on the Air Force relief efforts.
At the inaugural events, she and the other artists will cover the swearing-in ceremony, the inaugural parade, traffic control points, and activities of the Wing that controls the airspace in and around Washington, D.C., and of the 201st Airlift Squadron, which provides airlift support to Congress.
Phillips-Pendleton expects to create fairly large paintings in oil on some type of panels. The final works will be displayed at Andrews Air Force Base and the National Guard Museum in Washington and possibly will travel to other locations as well.