Nicholas Krushenick (b.1929), Smokey the Bear, 1976, lithograph, 29 7/8 x 21 7/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1978.
On this day in 1944, Smokey the Bear made his first appearance as a mascot. This campaign was developed by Ad Council, the United States Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters to educate the public of the dangers of wildfires. At the time, World War II was underway, meaning that men who had fought wildfires were mostly now serving in the military. The Ad Council created a campaign that would educate the public that they could prevent the start of wildfires.
Today’s Artwork of the Day, an abstract lithograph, alludes to fires, mountains, and timber, all of which connect to Smokey the Bear’s message of “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.”