Artist Kay Smith’s
The American Legacy Collection

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Artist Laureate of Illinois

The American Legacy Collection

For the past 40 years Kay Smith’s mission has been to capture America’s history with her paint brush. From the frigid barracks of Valley Forge to the spectacular relighting of the Statue of Liberty, this artist’s paintings are a visual record of America’s milestones. Her American Legacy Collection holds two hundred fifty original watercolor paintings and sketches, all done on location, all painted by one artist, Kay Smith, Artist Laureate of Illinois.

Her paintings of landmarks, monuments, battlefields and historic sites, when viewed together, are a stunning panorama that will speak to new generations about what has shaped us as a nation.

Eighty of these paintings from the Collection’s vital core are held by The American Legacy Collection Foundation. Its purpose is to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of our American heritage.

Acquiring the Collection

Now, at 96, Kay Smith has a new mission – to find a permanent home for these paintings where they can be used for education, outreach programs and community involvement.

These images are a unique resource. They preserve history, encourage art appreciation, and facilitate commercial applications. The organization or individual that acquires the Collection or its core paintings will be a steward of American history.


Kay Smith Artist-Laureate-of-Illinois

The Artist

Kay Smith has lived and painted in Chicago for over 70 years. An esteemed teacher, historian and lecturer, as well as painter, Kay is our Artist Laureate of Illinois, a lifetime appointment. She was also awarded the national George Washington Honor Medal.

Kay’s artwork has enjoyed major exhibits at the Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum, the Yorktown Victory Center and the Illinois Governor’s Mansion, among dozens of other venues. Most recently, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library commissioned her “Red Tails Escorting the B-17s” watercolor, honoring the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, which now hangs in its oral history room.

To view the entire Collection and discuss possibilities for its display, preservation or purchase please contact Kay Smith by text at 773.709.2690   email: or visit her website at    Printable Version


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