Another apex for Kristin Cronic’s ever-ascending star

Just when I think I can’t be more impressed with Kristin Cronic, well, I am.

From the time I started following Easel on Stribling on Instagram, which led to my first conversation with her, to her being a part of a couple of Herndon playlists, I’ll admit to being awestruck by her talent. Her artwork is masterful, even for someone not associated with the United States Naval Academy, her artwork. The “quippy mugs” (as she has called them) on her website speak to her radiant personality and the other items she’s created, from note cards to a coloring book, show how much she wants to share her experience with the world.

I was honored to get a sneak peek at her book, “A Midshipman’s Journey,” and found myself blown away. Kristin impressed me with her ability to not only bring her artwork to life but do so for those who haven’t had the USNA experience. (And for those that have pre-ordered, fear not, she assures me they will be on their way soon.)

I thought her book would be a capstone, of sorts. Her crowning achievement as the unofficial Naval Academy artist emeritus. As I am more often than I care to admit, I was wrong. So very wrong.

A recent social media post mentioned something about a show opening in Columbus, Ohio. This would have piqued my interest in any situation but being a mere 2 hours away, I had to know more. I learned there would be a preview event on a Friday evening, which was the perfect excuse to duck out of the office early after a long week.

Now I expected to be impressed but found myself a little numb. She and the staff of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum beautifully curated select works, including apt descriptions, in a setting befitting of an exhibit aimed at making a visit personal.

I was able to chat with some of the museum administrators but found myself spending most of my time with a 1971 grad who, of course, had some wonderful stories from his 30-year Navy career. It was also my pleasure to introduce him to Kristin. I was thankful to have a few moments to chat with her as well. Of course, gracious as always, her first question was about my submariner, whom she met when I went to visit him just before his first deployment last year. It was great to catch up a bit but soon it was time for her to step into the spotlight and welcome the crowd. She explained that the object of the exhibition wasn’t necessarily about being a Midshipmen but about moments and finding moments in your life that relate to these moments in not just her life but the lives of so many Midshipmen before her and since.

She also mentioned that this would be more than an exhibit running through mid-September (maybe longer) as she told the crowd she plans on returning to Columbus to do some fun painting workshops.

I milled through the crowd, mostly eavesdropping, interested to see the reaction of people not familiar with her work and especially those not connected to the Navy – there were a number of Navy folks there but also some from the “other” branches. I can tell you that everyone got it – you could see them finding their moments in her moments. There were many intent stares, several tilted heads, and numerous conversations punctuated by hand gestures toward the paintings.

Yet as I drove through the central Ohio cornfields at dusk, I wasn’t thinking about Kristin’s exhibition. I was wondering what she would do next. I only hope I have the opportunity to witness it myself.

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is more than a museum. As Kristin pointed out in a recent social media post, it’s a collection of stories and they are presented in a powerful fashion. Since you’re reading this blog, you don’t need a reminder of what it means to be a veteran and all the sacrifice that entails, both for those who served and those who supported those who served. If it is within your means to visit this special place, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Here is the website.

Let me know if you decide to go. I’m going to return because it’s worth seeing again and maybe we can share the experience.

One thought on “Another apex for Kristin Cronic’s ever-ascending star

  1. Great tribute! As a mother of a plebe and a part-time artist I was thrilled to find Kristins Instagram. I messaged her last summer that I admired her work and had a plebe. She was so thoughtful and messaged me several times throughout Plebe Summer asking after my son. I’m so impressed with her as an artist and a person!
    I’m hoping to meet her in person one day soon.


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