Jan. 8, 2009

By Gary Brown
The NCAA News

Wheaton College women's lacrosse junior Brittany King (Georgetown, MA/Proctor Academy) is one of just 20 student-athletes nationwide whose work will be on display during a special art show sponsored by the NCAA at its convention in Washington, D.C., on January 13-17. 
 
In conjunction with a Champion magazine feature on student-athlete artists for which King was selected, the NCAA will spotlight student-athletes’ talents on canvasses and in kilns instead of on fields and courts.  The first-of-its-kind art show at the Gaylord National hotel is called “Statements”.
 
Thirteen student-athletes will be featured in the January print issue of the NCAA’s Champion magazine - King and others will be represented in the online version of the publication - including personal statements about their work, how it relates to their athletics accomplishments, and self-portraits that are in many cases as creative as the work itself. Some of the student-athlete work is sports-related, but most reflects other aspects of life.
 
“We’re all familiar with the tagline on the NCAA’s promotional ads that say ‘There are more than 400,000 student-athletes and most of them will go pro in something other than sports’ – well, this is a visual manifestation of that,” said the NCAA’s Damon Schoening, who as director of brand strategies and events is co-directing the show. “This is a chance to display the talents of a cross-section of student-athletes diverse in sport, division and background. They truly represent what the NCAA is all about.”
 
Arnel Reynon from the design and print firm Sport Graphics in Indianapolis is assisting Schoening. “The work represented in the show will appeal to a wide-ranging audience,” Reynon said. “It is a very national collection that includes an entire spectrum of media – from oil and acrylic on canvas to digital photography and clay. While the NCAA membership at the convention already knows that student-athletes have many skills beyond athletics competition, the show will be a visual reaffirmation of that notion.”
 
The concept of a show emerged after Champion magazine solicited the student-athlete population through listservs and conference and institutional sports information directors for accomplished student-athlete artists. Almost two dozen were selected from more than 100 worthy nominees.
 
Many of the student-athletes have displayed their works in other forums. Two student-athletes from the University of Southern California – Dina Hegazy and Robin Hextrum – have appeared in an on-campus show called “Artletics” that focuses entirely on student-athlete work.
 
“The student-athletes feel really good about this type of recognition,” said Southern California ceramics department head and Artletics director Karen Koblitz. “They think, ‘Here I am being recognized for something besides athletics, which I’ve been recognized for my whole life.’ It’s an enlightening change of pace for them.”
 
Many of the student-athletes will attend the Statements show at the convention and participate in an opening reception Wednesday, January 14, at 5:00 p.m. The show will be staged in the Café area located between the hotel’s sleeping rooms and convention center.
 
Schoening said the show might be replicated in Indianapolis later this winter, though plans are preliminary at this point. The January issue of Champion will be distributed the week of convention and be available online (www.NCAAChampionMagazine.org) by January 19.