The American Legacy Collection Foundation was formed to keep the paintings that make up the heart of the Collection intact. The significance of Kay Smith's work has been recognized for years by historians and scholars. She was the first artist in the United States to be awarded the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge " for outstanding accomplishment in helping to achieve a better understanding of the American way of life."
In 1994 the prestigious Lincoln Academy of Illinois elected her Artist Laureate of Illinois.This is the state's highest honor to its citizens and is a lifetime appointment. The Academy honors individuals whose achievements have brought honor to the State "by their dedication to those principles of democracy and humanity as exemplified by the great Illinoisan whose name it bears."
The collection is one of a kind. It is the largest collection of works on paper on American history ever produced by one artist, in one medium (watercolor) and over such a broad area. The paintings each have a well written caption that blend their stories into a powerful account of our unique American history. It is a visual legacy that spans 500 years of our country's odyssey from Columbus' period of discovery to the ending years of the 20th century.
The purpose of the American Legacy Collection Foundation is to increase the public's awareness and appreciation of our American heritage and history and to find an appropriate facility where the paintings can be on exhibit and used for education, outreach programs, seminars and community involvement.
The goal of the Foundation is to finance traveling exhibitions, lectures and seminars and to find a permanent home for the paintings.
The Collection or selected paintings from the Collection are available for exhibition. For The American Legacy Collection exhibition sites click on
The American Legacy Collection Gallery.