Tonight, from 6-11pm, Manhattan Motorcars will host the Athletes for Art Renaissance Tour, where athletes and artists are one and the same.
You would never think that your favorite basketball player or that shortstop baseball all-star is actually an artist on the side, but it just might be true. That’s what AART hopes to share with sports and art fans around the world.
The mission of AART is simple: “Athletes and Artists animate and empower our communities, the Athletes for Art Renaissance Tour aims to break the myth that one is either an athlete or artist. AART merges these two areas of influence by showcasing artwork created by athletes across a variety of mediums. Through artistic expression, AART promotes building relationships, simulating imaginations, various viewpoints, and inspiring athletes to become global ambassadors for change.”
AART, which was founded by marketing executive Jumoke Mendez, is less than a year old, but it’s already making news. The first tour began in July of 2014 in Hollywood and their most recent tour was held in December in Miami, where celebrities like hip hop artist Swizz Beats, Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Jared Odrick, and singer Melky Jean joined forces not only to support the tour but to support the charity Smile Design Gallery. The SDG sells art in an effort to provide free dental care to those in need. While there doesn’t seem to be a charitable connection for the New York AART tour, it’s worth the visit nonetheless.
Featured artists include retired NBA player Desmond Mason, San Francisco 49ers player Vernon David, Atlanta Falcons footballer Robert McClain, and skateboarder Anthony Mosley. It seems that most, if not all, of the artist-athletes are males. Artist Not Your Muse (22-year-old Gabrielle Pane) is not an athlete but is the sole female artist highlighted on the organization’s website.
The organization has gained the attention of multiple sponsors of all backgrounds, including Morgan Stanley, Orange County Choppers, Avianne & Co. Jewelers, Blick Art Materials, Myx Fusions Moscato, and Subpac.
Most of the art created by the featured athlete-artists is contemporary, vibrantly colored, multi-media works. Some are realistic portraits of basketball players on backgrounds of splashed paint, others are intimate self-portraits. There are some graffitied skateboards or graffitied walls, and there are Picasso-esque faces painted on canvas. There is art with words and art with images. Indeed, the art created is as diverse as the sports played and the artist-athletes themselves.
The Athletes for Art Renaissance Tour will take place tonight at 6pm at Manhattan Motorcars, 270 11th Avenue. Let us know your thoughts if you attend. The tour will continue to Paris and to Hollywood and Miami again if you miss tonight's show.