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Air Force arts, crafts program kicks off

SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- Artists, craftsmen and photographers from across the Air Force have greater options to display their work through the 2012 U.S. Air Force Arts and Crafts Gallery program, which kicked off Oct 1.

The cultural art program, which recognizes and showcases works in an online gallery, encompasses a new name, a more user-friendly site and the addition of a digital arts category.

"The digital arts category covers the range of artistic works and practices using digital technology as an essential part of the creative or presentation process," said Sandra Hillard, the Air Force Services Agency Community and Leisure Branch chief. "Digital art can be purely computer-generated, such as a scanned photograph, or images drawn with graphics software."

The other two categories include crafts and photography.

The crafts program focuses on core craft activities and fine arts to include but not limited to paintings, ceramics, stained glass, quilting and jewelry making. The photography program focuses on artistic works and practices in the use of photography accomplished through mechanical, chemical or digital devices.

Each participant can submit three entries per category. Age groups include adults, teens (ages 13 -17) and youth (ages 6 -12).

"I think everybody has art in them if they work toward it," said Mark Lothrop, the Arts and Crafts director at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. "In today's society, it's more about immediate gratification but with art you have to spend time learning the processes and develop (the skill). I think it's important for people to experience that."

The 2012 program upgrades also provide more consistency to the program so no matter where military members are assigned they know what to expect, Hillard said.

"The gallery affords artists and craftsmen the opportunity to showcase their work to millions of viewers around the world," she said. "It builds morale, confidence and enhances resiliency."

Installation arts and crafts managers will take photos of entrant submissions and then upload those images to a website. With approximately 1,000 entries submitted for the 2011 Gallery, program managers needed a streamlined process.

"The gallery has always been displayed online; however, the process was accomplished manually," Hillard said. "This year, managers can upload their photos from their desktop onto a secure site, and once reviewed and approved the entry will be moved over to the gallery site for viewing."

Installation managers said they see this change as just another improvement.

"It's all part of the changes of the electronic system and how the Air Force is going to online media," said Paula Dickinson, the U.S. Air Force Academy Arts and Crafts Center director. "Being able to upload and modify it here will make it easier, and it will be good to manage our own information."

The 2012 program also incorporates a local installation program or event hosted by the arts and crafts center to enhance the gallery program. Recommended events include a live gallery or art exhibit, a painting or photography excursion, a paint-n-wine event, or an online voting system to select a "viewer's choice" award.

"The arts and crafts program enriches the lives of military people and their families through activities in fine and industrial arts," said Gary Lott, an AFSVA marketing specialist. "Centers provide hands-on instruction and group classes so participants can move from novice to expert craftsman."

Entries will be accepted at installation arts and crafts centers through Dec. 30. Final publication of the entries will be posted at in March.

For more information go to or call Vandenberg's Arts and Crafts Center at 606-6438.