Local Artist's Work Honored by U.S. Air Force

Nine paintings hang neatly in a building directly in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain.

The collection depicts a history of flight.

It is an important tale to Air Force Colonel Russell Wilson, commander of the 721st Mission Support Group.

"We've had these paintings up here at the mountain for almost 20 years now," Wilson said.

They came from a closet in the Chidlaw Building, which was once staffed by military leaders of NORAD. The art was essentially rescued and placed in various rooms at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force station.

The artist signed each with his first initial and last name.

"We've always kind of wondered who was T-Patterson?" Wilson said about the signature.

It took an internet search and a few phone calls to end up in a tan, one-story building on the west side of Colorado Springs.

"It was kind of like a treasure map,” said Todd Patterson. “We heard someone was looking for him.

The building houses the gallery of the late Terrance Patterson, a local sculptor and one time graphic artist for the United States Air Force.

"He was fascinated with airplanes and flight," Todd said of his father.

Todd remembers Patterson working on the paintings in the mid-to late 70's. They feature scenes depicting the tale of Icarus from Greek mythology and span generations of manned flight, including a tribute to the first astronauts.

"It was like reading a book in one page," Todd said.

Patterson’s widow, Betty Jo, recalls the nine sections of the mural seemed to simply fall together.

"I think they should be cherished like treasures, because that's what they are," she said.

The paintings will become a permanent part of the Air Force Art Program a collection of 10,000 pieces from the country's best aviation artists.

"We kind of have bragging rights right now, because we have them up here, hopefully we'll get to keep them up here," Wilson said.

Col. Wilson said the next step will be to create a plaque naming Terrance Patterson as the artist of the paintings that now hang in order in the technical support building lobby at the CMAF.

Patterson’s family is scheduled to meet the staff at the Cheyenne Mountain facility next week.

Some of Patterson's work can also be seen at the Veteran's Memorial at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs and is also on display at London’s Scotland Yard, as well as the Pentagon Building in Washington D.C.

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  • by Jason Location: Hunt Valley, MD on Jul 6, 2011 at 09:39 AM
    Grandpa, wherever you are, I want you to know I'm very proud of you, and proud to be your grandson. It was because of you that I entered the Marines and then went on to a career in aerospace engineering. I love and miss you very much. -Jase
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