Robyn Phillips-Pendleton’s artistic talents have taken her to places she never could have imagined. As part of the U.S. Air Force’s artist program, Phillips-Pendleton’s first assignment was to document humanitarian rescue efforts by the U.S. military in Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010. Most recently, she witnessed the inauguration ceremonies of President Barack Obama. Phillips-Pendleton walked the entire route during the parade, snapping photos and taking in the pomp and circumstance. “It was a fun and interesting assignment,” she says. “We didn’t really know what we were getting into.” Phillips-Pendleton, an associate professor of art at UD, has been commissioned by the Pentagon to document the role of the Air National Guard of Washington, D.C., during the inauguration. Along with two other artists, Phillips-Pendleton is responsible for developing three 4-by-6-foot paintings that cover the inauguration, as well as the work of the Fighter Alert Unit at Andrews Air Force Base. “They fly F-16s that get the call when someone enters our airspace,” she says. “They are constantly on high alert.” Her third work will cover members of Congress. “They were looking for an artist who can more than just render an image—someone who can put a face on what they do,” Phillips-Pendleton says of the art program. “We’re done with the information gathering. Now we have to create the paintings.” Phillips-Pendleton, who lives in Newark, plans to begin painting in the fall. The inauguration painting will be turned over to the Air National Guard during a ceremony in 2015. Her works will be exhibited at the Air National Guard Museum in D.C, as well as Andrews Air Force Base and in the Pentagon. “I really enjoy provoking an emotional and aesthetic response with my work,” she says. “It’s fulfilling to have people comment.”
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