By Sandi Moynihan

ANCHORAGE—When you walk into the new USO Alaska center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, some of the first things you see are V Rae’s colorful paintings on the walls.

“Many of her pieces … just make you smile,” said Tara Mogan, USO Alaska Center Director.

Rae, who’s work can be spotted at prominent venues throughout the last frontier, donated one piece — and loaned several others — to USO Alaska.

“The art that V loaned us really brought the center to life,” Mogan said. “It made the walls pop. It brought color.“

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Works in progress sit in V Rae’s studio.

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V Rae reads one of her artist statements, written by her husband, Frank.

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V Rae’s home in Anchorage, Alaska.

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One of V Rae’s works, displayed in her home. This work is also on display at the USO Alaska center.

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One of V Rae’s original, large-format,"freestyle” paintings.

The painting Rae permanently donated to USO Alaska, titled ‘Gotch Yer Back,’ was named to demonstrate the protective nature of the muskox it depicts. Now, hanging above the computer bay at USO Alaska, the painting’s name has taken on an even greater meaning.

“That’s something that you hear a lot around the USO, because we feel that we’ve got your back,” said Tara Mogan, USO Alaska Center Director.

“That’s the military. They have our back,” Rae said. “[And] That’s how many of us feel about our military [in return].“

You can send a message of support and thanks directly to service members via the USO’s Campaign to Connect. Your messages will appear on screens at USO locations around the world.