Friday, July 17, 2009

Monet of the Moon

Twenty five years ago when I was reporting for a Baltimore radio station, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing one of the 12 men who walked on the moon: Apollo astronaut Alan Bean. It was one of the best and most memorable interviews of my career.

What made that interview in 1984 so special was that not only was he able to speak eloquently and evocatively about the impact his lunar stroll and flight to the moon had on his life, but that he actually started a new career as an artist!

This hot shot rocket ace and moonwalker turned in his resignation at NASA in 1981—while training to fly the Space Shuttle—to pursue his passion as a painter. Colleagues thought he was having a mid-life crisis. But his unique perspective and experience allows him to paint what only a select few have ever experienced: flights to the moon. His impressionistic moonscapes capture some of the untold stories of man’s first exploration of the moon along with some that are pure fantasy.

It was my pleasure again this week to meet Alan Bean at the opening of a new exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum, entitled “Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World.” I tagged along with our State Circle crew as Alan provided a guided a tour of the exhibit for reporter Cilinda Pena. What you’ll see when the program airs tonight at 7:30 p.m. is a charming man and a very talented artist who makes his incredible journey accessible to all of us. The exhibit will be open to the public until January 2010.

Mike Golden
Managing Director, Communications
(That's Mike, on the left, and former NASA Astronaut-turned-artist Alan Bean on the right, 25 years after they first met. Bean will be on tonight's State Circle as the nation prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing. To see more of his art, visit

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