September 30, 2011

Painting a Transit

The Panama Canal - one of man's greatest creations - stretches 47 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.  Each day ships from across the world transit its waters, making it one of the busiest waterways in the world. 

It was the operation of the canal that brought many families to Panama to live and work.  This was true for my grandparents (Josephine and Howard Sprague) moved from Brooklyn, NY to Panama during the depression.  They were told that jobs were plentiful in this small country the size of South Carolilna.  At first my grandfather worked for an oil company but later went back to school for accounting and was hired to work for the Panama Canal Commission in the Accounting Department.  He later retired as one of the top accountants.  His office was located in the Administration Building in Balboa Heights. 

The Administration Building of the Panama Canal. 

Today, in the same hallways my grandfather walked and worked, my father's artwork hangs for all to enjoy.  One of the many collections of Al Sprague paintings housed in the Administration Building line the upper rotunda.  This collection takes one through a transit of the canal.  This collection was originally painted in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Canal. 

This plaque hangs in the upper rotunda of the Administration Building

This painting is part of the Transit Collection which hangs in the upper rotunda of the Administration Building.  Dad wanted to capture the line men who row out to the large ships to connect the lines to the mles that pull the ships through the locks of the canal. 

Other collections can be found in the Administrator's, Assistant Administrator's, Administration waiting area, and the Board Room. 

An Al Sprague pollera bronze sits on table in Alberto Aleman's (Administrator of the Panama Canal) office.
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This Al Sprague Painting hangs in the Board Room of the Adminstration Building

This painting hangs in the Administration Waiting Room at the Administration Building.  It was painted in 1969 and was part of a collection of paintings of the locks overhaul.  I love how it shows the massiveness of the gates of the canal!

In a recent trip to Panama with my children, Al Sprague's grandchildren, my father took the the time to walk around the Administration Building and show Braden (my son) and Kendall (my daughter) his collections housed in this beautiful and historic building.  As I listened in to his conversation, I heard him explain how he wanted to concentrate on the people that make the transits possible.  We have great means of getting a ship from one ocean to the other but we couldn't do it without the people. 

Obviously I am very proud of what my father has accomplished over the years in his career and it brings much joy to be able to share this information with others.  I hope you enjoy following his work as much as I enjoy displaying it!

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