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Modern Art and Sports: A Passionate Relationship

The worlds of art and sports are not all that different. Each medium conjures emotion, depicts internal conflict and creates lasting memories. From logo and uniform design to iconic sports photography to sculptures of legends outside sporting arenas, art and sports have formed a bond that is inseparable.

Both art and sports are such important pieces of our culture and history. This confirms that sports and art enthusiasts have more in common than we’ve ever thought. Sports have given the art world amazing subject matter and art has allowed those moments and athletes to live in infamy because of their work.

Without the two working together, these memories and moments may not have the same cultural impact they do today.

Here are a few examples where art and sports intersect, inspire and create iconic memorable interactions that compel fans to engage through the various mediums.

How Modern Art and Sports Have Collided

Vernon Davis

The 49er tight end has followed his passion and talent from the field into the art world. Davis is an avid collector and painter himself, and is utilizing his Art Studio degree from the University of Maryland to open his own art gallery, as shown in the video above.

Gallery 85 features ongoing thematic exhibitions that encourage interdependence and self-expression featuring themes from the worlds of athletics, science, math and culture.

In addition, he also developed the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts. His foundation helps to promote art education and appreciation among disadvantaged youth through scholarships and grants.

The Seattle Mariners


Like most baseball stadiums built in the late 90s, Safeco Field has a nice balance of “retro-modern” architecture. You can say many of these stadiums, in and of themselves, are modern works of art.

The Seattle Mariners have done an exceptional job incorporating artwork into their stadium and culture through their Art in the Park program. These baseball-inspired works of art feature public and private works by noted Northwest artists and are featured throughout the stadium and parking structures.

The team has also been able to incorporate art into their promotions and special events. For the last nine seasons, the team has held a popular promotion called “Stitch ‘n Pitch.” Fans are encouraged to bring their knitting, stitching, quilting and other fiber art related projects to the game. The Mariners partnered with Pacific Fabrics & Crafts, to provide fans with inspiration, expert help, fabric samples and an opportunity to meet other craft enthusiasts and Seattle baseball fans.

The MECCA Floor


Considered the largest pop art painting ever, The MECCA (Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center & Arena) floor is an iconic piece of Milwaukee sports history. Painted by artist, Robert Indiana, the floor featured bold primary colors and geometric designs. Both the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette University played on the iconic floor before it was retired in 1997.

When the floor turned up in 2010 for sale online, Ben Koller’s father quickly scrambled to purchase the iconic floor. Once the purchase was complete, he and group of Milwaukee natives worked to figure out what to do with the floor.

What they landed on was creating a one time only public viewing of the floor and unique events, featuring iconic memorabilia from both Marquette and the Milwaukee Bucks along with local artists creating basketball inspired artwork.

The floor will be now turned into a public art project, which reassembles the 260 panels into interchangeable configurations to be displayed in a downtown mall.

Sports and Art Can Go Hand-in-Hand

It’s examples like these that prove that sports fans are more involved in the art community and vice versa. Both communities create passionate fans; and if teams can balance of their passions the same way their fans have there is a great opportunity to create new and unique marketing programs.

What are some of your favorite examples of art and sports? Share them with us in the comment section below.

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7 Responses to Modern Art and Sports: A Passionate Relationship

  1. Dalton Outlaw April 23, 2018 at 7:29 am #

    “The Art of Boxing. The Sport of Ballet.”

  2. Birnilyo June 15, 2018 at 3:05 am #

    Salamat 🙂

  3. Lou Siegel March 15, 2020 at 9:15 pm #

    Nice post!
    Check out art and sports at louisschanker on FB or Instagram

  4. Adam October 5, 2021 at 6:13 am #

    Safeco Field is mostly retro style than modern. I like it so much. New retro bowl game – best American football game ever.

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