Disney World to host exhibit of George W Bush paintings

Art features service personnel and veterans that the former president has met

Dan Gooding
Thursday 02 May 2024 23:20 BST
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The Walt Disney Company announced it will host “Portraits of Courage: A Commander’s Tribute to America’s Warriors”, a special exhibit from the George W. Bush Institute, for a 12-month exhibition inside The American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT located at Walt Disney World Resort starting with a grand opening on June 9, 2024
The Walt Disney Company announced it will host “Portraits of Courage: A Commander’s Tribute to America’s Warriors”, a special exhibit from the George W. Bush Institute, for a 12-month exhibition inside The American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT located at Walt Disney World Resort starting with a grand opening on June 9, 2024 (George W. Bush Presidential Center)

Paintings by former President George W. Bush are going on show at Walt Disney World in Florida, as part of a celebration of veterans.

Disney announced the new exhibit, set to open at its EPCOT theme park in June, on Wednesday, saying that it will reflect Mr Bush’s “personal commitment” and “ongoing work” with service personnel.

More than 60 paintings, many featuring service members the president has come to know personally, will be part of the exhibit in the American Adventure pavilion at the central Florida park.

“My hope is that those who have the opportunity to see this special exhibit will also remember the leadership, service and sacrifice behind each of the heroes painted and the unique challenges our service members and their families face when transitioning out of the military,” Ken Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, said in a press release.

Portraits set to feature in the new exhibition at EPCOT, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
Portraits set to feature in the new exhibition at EPCOT, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida (Disney/George W. Bush Presidential Center)

Disney explained that each painting in the “Portraits of Courage: A Commander’s Tribute to America’s Warriors” show will be accompanied by the “inspiring story” of those featured.

“Celebrating those who give so much to our country has been part of the fabric of The Walt Disney Company throughout our 100-year history,” Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Experiences, said.

“We’re grateful to the Bush Institute for allowing us to feature this special collection and share it with our guests.”

Mr Bush, 77, was in the White House during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with the George W. Bush Institute’s work focusing on those who have served in the military since that time.

When a similar exhibition opened in 2017, President Bush explained that he knew each person he had painted.

The American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT will host the exhibition starting 9 June 2024
The American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT will host the exhibition starting 9 June 2024 (DISNEY)

"These are people that don’t want to be called heroes," Bush told NBC News. "They just want [others] to say thank you for doing a good job and I don’t want people to feel sorry for them."

The new version of the exhibition will open on 9 June and run for a year, Disney said, and will feature resources for post-9/11 vets and their families.

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