When the Gazette called for a visual exploration of patriotism, we gave no directions on how artists should express their ideas.

Because, to crib from President Obama, “That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door.”

American artists have always taken inspiration from their place (“Landscape is to American painting what sex and psychoanalysis are to the American novel,” as art critic Robert Hughes put it), its symbols (take Jasper Johns and the flag), its people and its ideals.

Americana. American visions. Patriotism though the eyes of some of its artists, right here on the Island.