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"Artistry of Space: The NASA Art Program"
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Artrain USA
Ann Arbor, MI, USA United States of America

Artrain USA, the nation's only art museum on a train, is traveling America's railroads carrying Artistry of Space: The NASA Art Program , an exhibition of artworks from NASA and the National Air and Space Museum art collections. This exhibition, which launched in Washington, D.C. in July, 1999, is traveling through the Southeast and Gulf states in 2000; in 2001, the tour will visit the Midwest; and in 2002, the exhibition will traverse the West Coast and Pacific Northwest states. The Artistry of Space national tour is sponsored by DaimlerChrysler with transportation for Artrain USA provided by the nation's railroads.

Artistry of Space is a collection of 78 paintings, prints, drawings and multimedia works from the NASA Art Collection that reflects the energy and excitement of space exploration. From the excitement of the initial effort to put a man on the moon to recent endeavors such as the Mars Pathfinder missi on and the Hubble Space Telescope, artists such as Peter Max, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and James Wyeth have captured the spirit of space exploration. The result is a rich visual record of the NASA Space Program.

From the inception of NASA's Art Program in 1962, NASA has invited more than 250 American artists to witness firsthand the U.S. space missions and to interpret space flight through their art. In a creative melding of art and science, the artists, responding to space exploration on emotional and spiritual levels, have documented the work of engineers, astronauts and scientists. Sketches capture the immediacy of unfolding events, while larger, finished works created in the artists' studios convey the power of what they have witnessed. Artrain USA's mission is to enrich lives and build communities through the arts. This unique art museum on rails fulfills its mission by bringing visual art exhibitions and programs directly to communities that do not have access to museums or collections. As a powerful catalyst, Artrain USA sparks the formation of local and regional arts councils, bolsters art education programs and community pride and spurs downtown and depot renovations. Since its founding in 1971, more than 2.6 million people have visited Artrain USA in 600 communities in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The Artistry of Space exhibition will visit more than 100 cities in 40 states during its three-year tour.

The Artistry of Space exhibition is exciting, because it touches all generations and gives us the opportunity to bring museum art to the nation, while incorporating the relationship of art to science and technology, said Debra Polich, President and CEO of Artrain USA.

Visitors are invited to tour the gallery, take part in an interactive computer display, visit the gift shop and view Artrain USA's resident artist and local community artists demonstrating their skills.

New Railcars - Artrain USA has traveled with the same set of railcars since 1971. With the opening of the Artistry of Space exhibition, Artrain USA showcased three of its five new railcars. These sleek stainless steel cars: a 1949 New York Central sleeper car and 1949 Pennsylvania Railroad twin diner cars, house the gallery for the exhibition. With these new railcars, Artrain USA will be able to continue to break ground in art education, to expand its programming and increase opportunities for people to experience art in a non-intimidating, encouraging atmosphere within their own communities. In December, Artrain USA will replace its gift shop/studio car and caboose with a 1947 New York Central baggage dormitory car and a 1948 Kansas City Southern end car, respectively.

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