Sculptor Lou Cella Presented Academy’s Sport Artist of the Year Award

Lou Cella Sculpture

Lou Cella was named the United States Sports Academy’s 2018 Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor, during a recent art show on the Academy campus. Cella presented his piece, “Cobb Steals Third,” to the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives.

American sculptor Lou Cella was presented the United States Sports Academy’s 2018 Sport Artists of the Year, Sculptor, Award during a public art show and a “Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete” at the Academy.

Cella of Chicago, Ill., was presented the honor by Academy Trustee and Art Committee member Jack Scharr during the event on the Academy campus in Daphne, Ala. Cella is widely known for his works featured at famous sport venues across the United States, including Wrigley Field in Chicago; Comerica Park in Detroit, and the Green Bay Packers Heritage Trail in Wisconsin.

The event was part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which honors those who have made significant contributions to sport in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Medallion Series, Athletes of the Year and Alumni of the Year awards.

Cella’s sculpture, “Cobb Steals Third,” is now a permanent part of the ASAMA collection. The piece is based on what is widely recognized as the greatest baseball action photo of all time. Shot by renowned photographer Charles Conlon, the photo depicted baseball legend Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers sliding into a base under the tag of Jimmy Austin of the New York Highlanders, who would later become the Yankees.

“Sports is a great unifier, and baseball I have found has this great family oriented quality to it,” Cella said. “My two great passions in life are sculpting and baseball, so when I am able to bring those together, it is a great, great thrill. And having my career come this far, and having this great (Academy) family invite me to be part of it, is just really humbling.”

Coming from a family of artists and growing up in the Chicago area, Cella studied both fine art and graphic design at Illinois State University. After several years working as a graphic artist, he moved to three-dimensional art working as a sculptor. His works range from extreme realism to existential creations, and he prefers to use fresh ideas from both to grow his works, which include both small and monument scale pieces in bronze.

In 1995 Cella joined Chicago’s famed Rotblatt/Amrany Studio of Fine Art, where his life-sized and larger works are in great demand for sport venues across the United States. Notable works include Harry Caray, Ernie Banks and Ron Santo at Wrigley Field; The Six Detroit Tigers and Ernie Harwell at Comerica Park in Detroit; quarterback Bart Starr for the Green Bay Packers Heritage Trail; Carlton Fisk at US Cellular Field in Chicago; and Ken Griffey Jr. at Safeco Field in Seattle.

“My parents are still alive, but my father is unable to travel. I truly wish my father was able to come here and see this,” Cella said. “I was never going to play for the Chicago Cubs, but as I often tell people who are interested in the arts, ‘don’t think because you won’t be a rock star, you have to give up being a musician… Don’t think that because you’ll never be quarterback at the University of Alabama that you can’t use your passion to be part of it in some other way. There is always something you can do. That’s something my parents helped me see.”

Cella’s sculpture of Ty Cobb at Comerica Park in Detroit was selected as one of the 25 Most Important Sports Statues by Complex magazine.

In addition to his works featuring the giants of sport, he has also sculpted historic pieces, including Orville Redenbacher for the town of Valparaiso, Ind.; Oakland University founder Matilda Dodge Wilson in Rochester, Mich.; and Father Hesburgh and Father Joyce memorials at the University of Notre Dame.

Painter Graig Kreindler Presented Academy’s Sport Artist of the Year Award

Kreindler and Raia

Graig Kreindler was named the United States Sports Academy’s 2018 Sport Artist of the Year, Painter, during a recent public art show on the Academy campus. Kreindler presented his work, “Putt Putt” featuring 1956 Philadelphia Phillies player Richie Ashburn, with Academy Art Committee Chair Nancy Raia.

Graig Kreindler, known as “The Painter of the National Pastime,” was presented the United States Sports Academy’s 2018 Sport Artist of the Year, Painter, Award during a public art show and a “Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete” at the Academy.

Kreindler, of Bronxville, N.Y., was presented the honor by Academy Art Committee chair Nancy Raia during the event celebration on the Academy campus in Daphne, Ala. Kreindler unveiled a piece “Putt Putt,” depicting Richie Ashburn of the 1956 Philadelphia Phillies, which is now a permanent part of the American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) collection.

Kreindler’s work focusing on the quaint ballparks, lively personalities and dominating teams in baseball’s history has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sporting News and on the YES television network.

The artist’s relationship with baseball began at an early age. His parents, both New York Yankees fans, named him after third baseman Graig Nettles. As a budding young artist Kreindler was inspired by his father’s baseball card collection and in particular, the 1940s cards that used illustrations instead of photographs of featured players.

“As a young kid I was drawing cartoons and superheroes, but when I saw those cards I realized that I could also take my love of art and draw Mickey Mantle and do something to make my father smile,” Kreindler said. “That has carried me on for my entire life. I’m 38 years old and even today when I do a painting – whether it’s a Yankee or not – I’m still thinking of my father.

“Being recognized for doing something that I love and that I have done for my father is just amazing,” Kreindler said. “I want to thank everyone at the Academy. Everyone I’ve met has been incredible. This is a highlight that I’m not sure I will ever be able to top. I am truly grateful.”

The event was part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which honors those who have made significant contributions to sport in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Medallion Series, Athletes of the Year and Alumni of the Year awards.

Kreindler is widely known for his nostalgic paintings that capture in remarkable detail the simpler bygone days of sport. To Kreindler, no other sport embodies the relationship between generations and the sense of community like baseball. His goal is to portray the national pastime in an era when players were accessibly human, and the atmosphere of a cozy ballpark was just as important as what happened on the field. He is proud to act as a visual historian and his award-winning sports work has appeared in juried shows and museums nationwide, as well as having been featured in nationally distributed books, newspapers, magazines, and both Internet and television featurettes.

American Sport Art Museum & Archives Receives “Perfect 10” Donation of Rick Rush Serigraphs

McLaughlin Rick Rush donation edited

McLaughlin, left, is pictured with Academy Art Committee chair Nancy Raia and Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

Fairhope, Ala., resident L.D. McLaughlin Jr. recently visited the American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) on the campus of the United States Sports Academy and donated a “Perfect 10” set of 10 serigraphs, each signed and numbered #10 in a series, by 2011 Academy Sport Artist of the Year painter Rick Rush.

The serigraphs depict various noteworthy moments in the history of football at the University of Alabama. Rush, known as “America’s Sport Artist,” has gained a worldwide following for his colorful paintings that depict a variety of sports.

“I took a tour of ASAMA here recently and I was quite impressed with the wide array of art and the facility here,” McLaughlin said. “I have enjoyed this art at my home, and I thought it was time to let someone else enjoy it. These serigraphs are just so real, so lifelike. They have a great depth to them.”

“While ASAMA has been the beneficiary of donations to the collection from literally all corners of the globe, it is particularly meaningful to us that this gift comes from a resident in the local community,” Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich said. “While works by Rick Rush are already well represented in the ASAMA holdings, this particular gift is singularly unique given that they are all number 10 in the run of serigraphs and share a common theme; that of Alabama football. These factors truly serve to make this a distinctive addition to the collection.”

Rush has depicted high-profile sports figures such as Joe Namath, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Muhammad Ali, Albert Pujols, Nolan Ryan, Bo Jackson and countless others. His works portray subjects of historic significance and include the Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, and NCAA National Championships.

Numerous pieces of his art grace the walls at ASAMA including “Finishing Strong,” a NASCAR-themed original painting which was also donated to the museum and depicts legendary drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The artist also recently presented to ASAMA an original work, “Right on Course,” which depicts famed golfer Bubba Watson winning his historic second Masters championship.

Rush, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is the Academy’s 2011 Sport Artist of the Year in painting. The award is presented annually to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition.

“The Academy and its museum are an artistic marvel for me,” Rush said. “The Academy has made sports art not just an aside but a primary genre of high art and fine art. The museum and what the Academy has done culturally around the world is marvelous, touching people and building an awareness of the world of fine art in sports.

“The Academy is impacting people and countries and cultures through the universal language of sport and art,” Rush said. “What a great work, coming together to develop cultural stability and integration around the world. It is a great platform.”

Not only has Rush’s art been featured and collected around the world, the painter has also played a significant role in the world of sports art on the legal front, winning important gains for artists.  In 2003, Rush won a court battle for his right to draw, paint, and sell the images of star athletes when Tiger Woods sued for royalties on a painting Rush made of the golfer following the 1997 Masters. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Rush’s favor, finding paintings to be a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment.

The Academy has prints of Rush’s works and other art available from the Academy bookstore at http://bookstore.ussa.edu/.

Daphne Father and Son Enjoy Regular Visits to Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Rick and Tommy May

Rick and Tommy May

Daphne, Ala., resident Rick May and his son, Tommy, are regular visitors to the American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) on the campus of the United States Sports Academy. Rick May said the pair visits ASAMA at least once every month because he wants to share his love of sport and art with his son.

The Mays recently visited ASAMA and posed in front of Rick’s favorite piece in the museum, “Walter Payton” by Academy 1984 Sport Artist of the Year Donald Moss. The piece is a popular fixture in the Academy’s Sport Artist of the Year Hall of Fame wall inside ASAMA.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.

Public Invited as United States Sports Academy Introduces 2018 Sport Artists of the Year

Graig Kreindler

Graig Kreindler, 2018 Sport Artist of the Year, Painter

The public is invited as the United States Sports Academy introduces its 2018 Sport Artists of the Year in a special art show and reception that is part of its 34th Annual Awards of Sport program, a celebration of sport and art and “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, 8 November 2018, on the Academy’s campus located at One Academy Drive in Daphne, Ala.  A reception will follow. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP at (251) 626-3303 or email communications@ussa.edu, but reservations are not required.

Lou Cella

Lou Cella, 2018 Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor

The Academy’s Awards of Sport honor those who have made significant contributions to sport in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Athletes of the Year and Alumni of the Year awards.

A highlight of the evening will be the unveiling and addition to ASAMA’s permanent art collection works by the Academy’s 2018 Sport Artists of the Year: painter Graig Kreindler of Bronxville, N.Y., and sculptor Lou Cella of Chicago, Ill. Additional works by the two will also be featured in an art show at the event. Continue reading

Artist Donates Original Painting of First Televised Olympics to American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Bob Zimlich gift edited IMG_2690

Local artist Robert Lord Zimlich, right, recently presented to the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) an original life-sized assemblage representing the first televised broadcasting of the Olympic Games. Accepting is Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

DAPHNE, Ala. – Local artist Robert Lord Zimlich recently donated an original painting, “First Televised Olympics,” to the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Zimlich presented the life-size assemblage to Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

Zimlich said the painting is one in his latest in a series representing firsts in sports history, from Sumerian cave art of boxing to the present. The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were the first in history to be televised, as the Nazi government employed a closed circuit television system to broadcast the games as a propaganda tool to large viewing halls in Berlin and other locations, where tens of thousands viewed on small television screens.  Use of the new communications medium, whose development had been subsidized by the government, was also intended to highlight Germany’s sophisticated technology. Continue reading

Academy Sport Artist Charles Billich Meets with Pope, Will Paint Vatican Cityscape

Billich with Pope Francis

United States Sports Academy Sport Artist of the Year (1999, 2013) Charles Billich recently met Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican City. Billich was commissioned to paint one of his famous cityscape pieces of the Vatican City.

DAPHNE, Ala. – Two-time United States Sports Academy Sport Artist of the Year and world-renowned contemporary surrealist painter Charles Billich recently had an audience with Pope Francis and was commissioned to paint one of his famous cityscapes in honor of the Vatican City.

Billich, one of the most famous and prolific living Australian painters, was named the Academy’s Sport Artist of the Year in 2013 and 1999, joining renowned painter Ernie Barnes as the only two artists to win the award twice. Born in Croatia, Billich now resides in Sydney, Australia.

“I am humbled that the Pope is going to guide me through this journey of painting the Vatican,” Billich told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. “Having his blessing makes the painting so much more meaningful.” Continue reading

Sergey Eylanbekov Sculptures to Serve as Centerpiece of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial

Eylanbekov sculpting Eisenhower

Sculptor Sergey Eylanbekov working on clay model of Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower. Images and sculpture courtesy of Sergey Eylanbekov

United States Sports Academy 2004 Sport Artist of the Year and 2004 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sport Art Competition winner Sergey Eylanbekov is busy sculpting masterworks for the Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower Memorial that will be located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The world got its first glimpses of the sculptures recently in “GENERAL’ LY SPEAKING: Dispatches from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.”  A 6 June 2018 edition of the publication marking the 74th Anniversary of D-Day provided images of the remarkable sculptures in various stages of completion.

Architect Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial was developed in collaboration with a creative team of artists and engineers.   The Eisenhower Memorial Commission, created by Congress, is overseeing creation of the project. Continue reading

Academy Invites Public to See Olympic Art, Memorabilia at American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Larsen - Borzov, The Sprinter

“Borzov the Sprinter” is one of nine Bruce Larsen sculptures featured on the grounds of the American Sport Art Museum & Archives at the United States Sports Academy. The sculpture represents Ukrainian sprinter Valeriy Borzov, an Olympic gold medalist and former president of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

DAPHNE, Ala. – As the world celebrates Olympic Day on 23 June, the United States Sports Academy invites the public the week before to visit its American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA), home to a large collection of Olympic memorabilia and art from world renowned painters, sculptors and mixed media artists.

Olympic Day is a worldwide annual celebration in recognition of the Modern Olympic Games. More than 160 countries take part in Olympic Day, which was created in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the Modern Olympic Games.  It focuses on the Olympic values and ideals such as fair play, perseverance, respect, and sportsmanship. In the U.S., Olympic Day events range from small gatherings to large, city-wide events.

While ASAMA is not open on weekends, the Academy invites the public to visit the museum from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day of the week prior to Olympic Day on Saturday, 23 June. Continue reading

Academy Trustee, Art Committee Member Selected for International Niagara Falls Exhibit

McCollough Niagara falls

Susan N. McCollough has been selected for a prestigious international art exhibition at Niagara Falls to emphasize the importance of global access to clean drinking water. McCollough’s works in the exhibit are two abstract oil paintings entitled “Beneath, the Ocean Whispers,” (top), and “Beneath Rays of Whispers … Silence.”

DAPHNE, Ala – A United States Sports Academy trustee and a member of the Academy’s Art Committee have both been selected for a prestigious international art exhibition at Niagara Falls to emphasize the importance of global access to clean drinking water.

Susan N. McCollough and B’Beth Weldon are among 37 artists selected from 18 countries for the exhibit “Water for Life,” which runs through 9 September at the Niagara Falls History Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Organizers say “Water for Life” is designed to encourage visitors to reflect on the abundance of fresh water that the world famous Niagara Falls puts on display to sensitize audiences to the global inequalities of the world’s access to clean water. “Water for Life” examines the influence and power of water through painting, photography, digital art, sculpture, and installations.

The water theme was inspired and supported by muralist Rina Lazo, who worked with the late famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera on the creation of an underwater indoor mural in 1951 to commemorate the completion of a major component of the central water system in Mexico City. Continue reading