Best Exhibit of 2019

We the People: Portraits of Veterans in America at City Gallery

Readers Pick

Last year award-winning watercolor artist and Charleston resident Mary Whyte debuted a collection of portraits, We the People: Portraits of Veterans in America, that she’d been working on for nearly a decade. The series features images of 50 present-day American veterans — one from each state. You’ll find people like a Pennsylvania science teacher, a South Carolina single mom, a Missouri dairy farmer and so many more in this exhibition. The works attempt to answer the question: What is post-service life like for Americans? Medal of Honor recipient Major General James E. Livingston has called the exhibition, “a moving and important tribute to our nation’s greatest patriots.” The exhibition debuted during an eventful weekend last October, with a number of patriotic events including a brunch on the U.S.S. Yorktown, two premiere concerts from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the release of an art book from the University of South Carolina; both the CSO and USC are partner organizations with the Patriot Art Foundation, founded by Whyte. Whyte has said of the exhibition: “We The People is not only a tour across and through these vast United States, it is a tour through the heart and soul, the duty and the commitment of the people who protect not only our Constitution and our country but our very lives. We can only be deeply grateful, inspired, and humbled by all of them, and it’s my hope that we the people give rise to a greater sense of gratitude for our military, as well as to inspire people to reach for what is possible.” —Connelly Hardaway

Runner-Up: Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem at the Gibbes Museum of Art

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