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LI neighbors have artistic brush with Coast Guard history

Chuck Van Horn, left, and Susanne Corbelletta are

Chuck Van Horn, left, and Susanne Corbelletta are two Glen Head artists who are among 24 artists chosen nationally to exhibit works honoring the Coast Guard. Photo Credit: Newsday / Chuck Fadely

A pair of painters from Glen Head were among two dozen artists nationwide whose works were accepted into the U.S. Coast Guard permanent collection.

Chuck Van Horn, 79, and Susanne Corbelletta, 59, neighbors who live only miles apart, met for the first time this month at a Manhattan gala celebrating this year’s selection.

Artists across the country — including those in Michigan, Utah, Arizona and California — submitted more than 40 pieces of work for consideration, said Mary Ann Bader, coordinator of the Coast Guard Art Program, commonly referred to as COGAP. Twenty-six paintings by 24 artists were chosen to be included in the service’s permanent collection.

“What are the chances that two people in this little town were selected,” Corbelletta said.

The program, in its 35th year and in partnership with the Salmagundi Art Club in Greenwich Village, has been using fine art to illustrate the story of the service’s diverse missions, ranging from search-and-rescue operations to drug busts.

Van Horn’s “Interdiction,” a watercolor painting, depicted the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton’s seizure of a submarine-like vessel used to transport more than 16,000 pounds of cocaine worth $181 million last year. Guardsmen intercepted the cargo in the Pacific Ocean, about 200 miles south of Mexico.

Van Horn’s “Interdiction” marks the fourth artwork the Coast Guard has accepted into its permanent collection, housed in a facility in Forestville, Maryland.

“I have an enormous respect for the military and those individuals that have put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedom that we all have,” said Van Horn, a retired graphic artist and a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1970, including two tours in the Gulf of Tonkin aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. “My donation of a painting each year to the Coast Guard is my way of expressing thanks for what they do to protect us all.”

Corbelletta, who didn’t receive formal art training until after she retired from a career as manager of a collection agency, has two pieces in the permanent collection. This year’s “Man Overboard Drill” captured a boatswain’s mate taking part in a drill aboard a 25-foot response boat at Station Shinnecock in Hampton Bay.

During Corbelletta’s visit to Station Shinnecock, she saw a young reservist, with hook in hand, pulling a dummy out of the water.

“I was excited to see a woman working on the boat,” Corbelletta said. “She was just intense.”

Of the 40,400 active duty members in the Coast Guard, 6,172 are women, Bader said.

Corbelletta and Van Horn are among seven Long Islandartists whose works are in the Coast Guard’s permanent collection, which has amassed nearly 2,000 pieces of artwork. The other artists came from Long Beach, Woodmere, Commack, Sayville and Shelter Island, according to Bader.

Paintings by Corbelletta and Van Horn, along with the other 24 pieces of artwork, are on exhibit at Federal Hall National Memorial in downtown Manhattan until Sept. 6. Other works in the permanent collection are currently on display in museums in California, Maryland, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Other select artwork from the permanent collection are also on display in offices of members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and the residences of U.S. ambassadors to Finland and the Republic of Suriname.

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