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.

Eylanbekov was selected to design the sculptures that will commemorate Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War II and as 34th President of the United States.  His sculptures will be placed at the core of the memorial in the nation’s capital.  Statues will be executed in bronze and complemented by bas reliefs carved in stone.

One composition of Eylanbekov’s bronze sculptures will represent Eisenhower as the 34th President of the United States, flanked by civilian and military advisers. Another composition of bronzes will represent Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, with the 101st Airborne Division before their jump into France. Monumental bas reliefs by Eylanbekov will also be a part of the sculptural composition.

Sculptures of soldiers

Close-up of full-scale clay models of soldiers. Image courtesy of Sergey Eylanbekov

The memorial will be located within a four-acre urban park on Independence Avenue, across from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and adjacent to the U.S. Department of Education. The project is expected to be complete by 8 May 2020, the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

“Being involved in the creation of the Dwight. D. Eisenhower National Memorial and creating sculptures for the memorial is a great honor to me,” Eylanbekov said. “I can’t overstate the importance of this project in my professional and personal life.

“The sculptures in this project are created for the public, for the people to observe them, to think and respond emotionally. That is where the visual power of art is most evident. I hope the bronze images will be strong enough to impress the visitors to the memorial and live in their memories.

“From the artistic standpoint, in the sculptural composition and in each bronze figure I am trying to express the enormous tension of the moment by using all of my skills as a sculptor. There is no obvious movement in the sculptures.  There is only internal pressure and energy expressed through the sculptural form of the faces, hands, and poses of men who are about to go into battle.

“I think of this sculptural group of six soldiers as ‘the wall’. They are all different, they have different feelings of what is about to happen, and at the same time they are absolutely united by the event. Each one of them carries the weight of the future of the free world on their shoulders. Many of them are not going to survive the battle. They and their leader understand both concepts. It is a very complex psychological state for the soldiers as well as for their leader.

“My goal as a sculptor is to translate in bronze the enormous importance of the moment as well as the eternal concept of an ultimate sacrifice for the most important of reasons.

“Historically the fight for freedom has always demanded sacrifice. This relates in different measures to societies, countries as well as to individuals.”

Eisenhower closeup

Close-up of full-scale clay model Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower. Image courtesy of Sergey Eylanbekov.

Eylanbekov, a world-renowned sculptor, grew up in the Soviet Union. He attended Moscow School of Fine Arts and then the prestigious Surikov Academy of Fine Arts, where he graduated with honors. During the tumultuous period of change that occurred in the 1980s during the Gorbachev era, Eylanbekov decided to start life over in the United States. Speaking no English and desperately short of money, he came to New York and then proceeded to work his way up to the top of his profession, becoming an American citizen along the way. In the past quarter century his ascent has continued as his artwork has garnered praise all over the world.

Eylanbekov has had a close relationship with the Academy for many years and was selected as Sport Artist of the Year in 2004. Eylanbekov’s bronze torsos entitled “Venus and Mars” are featured at the entrance to the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA). The Academy has dedicated the sculptures to Olympians Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, who have been active in the Olympic and Special Olympic movements.

“I admire the Academy’s relentless effort and ultimate great success in showcasing sport art to the world,” Eylanbekov said. “ASAMA’s unique collection contains important works of sport art by the artists from around the globe. I am proud of my relationship with the Academy.”

For many Summer Olympiads, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) called upon its national affiliates to hold art competitions leading up to an international contest, and for numerous Olympiads the Academy coordinated the contest for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). Eylanbekov earned significant international attention in 2004 for his sculpture, “Five Continents,” a cast acrylic sculpture that depicts six human figures, with one symbolizing Greece and the others depicting people from five continents of the world. The Olympic Rings are embedded in the sculpture. It won the USOC Sport and Art Contest and went on to win first place internationally among entries from 39 countries in the IOC’s Sport Art Competition in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Previously, he was one of the official artists for the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002.

Eylanbekov has been commissioned to create monumental statues of historical and political figures around the world. Among those are statues of second United States President John Adams and Continental Congress President and Massachusetts Governor John Hancock for the city of Quincy, Mass., which will be dedicated this fall; and his monumental bronze Peer Gynt and Three Herd Girls unveiled in Oslo, Norway in 2010. He created a sculpture for a gift from the Gabonese Republic to soccer legend Pelé at the African Cup of Nations, as well as the sculpture representing Dwight David Eisenhower for the global award by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU). He has been awarded exhibitions at the United Nations headquarters in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow, Russia.

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.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala.  For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

For more on the Eylanbekov sculptures including photos, go to: www.eisenhowermemorial.org/sites/default/files/public/press/General%27ly%20Speaking%20-%20Dispatches%20from%20the%20Eisenhower%20Memorial%20Commission%20%28June%206%20-%20Special%20D-Day%20Edition%29.pdf.

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.

The ASAMA collection includes the Olympic Room, which is located in the Academy’s Library. Many different types of Olympic memorabilia are on display there including pendants, pins, medals, sculptures, books and manuscripts dating back to the earliest days of the Modern Olympic Games.

The ASAMA collection also prominently displays in its lobby a series of prints from renowned Spanish artist Cristobal Gabarron which represent the 26 pillars of the Atlanta Star – An Olympic Forest project. Shortly after the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, the Academy commissioned Gabarron to produce a piece for the centennial of the Modern Olympic Games. Gabarron produced 26 pillars representing each Olympiad since 1896, the year the Modern Olympics began. The pillars were positioned in the shape of a star – patterned after the Academy logo – that was placed in front of the Olympic MARTA station in Atlanta for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Prints from the Atlanta Star line the main wall in the lobby at ASAMA today.

In the Thomas P. Rosandich Gallery at ASAMA, visitors will find the Bing Mah Yong paintings by two-time Sport Artist of the Year Charles Billich. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Billich created the 16-piece body of work, which manipulates reality by featuring the terracotta warriors of ancient China as modern Olympians. Billich’s famous “Londonolympia” cityscape, which depicts all of London’s Olympic sports facilities and great landmarks, is also on display in the main lobby at ASAMA.

Nastia the Gymnast

“Nastia the Gymnast” 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 former United States Olympic gold medal gymnast Nastia Liukin.

The Olympics are also represented in the Sport Sculpture Park outside on the ASAMA grounds. There, visitors will find several large sculptures by Fairhope, Ala., “found art” sculptor Bruce Larsen. His “Borzov the Sprinter” greets guests to the Academy’s front entrance. The larger-than-life sculpture – made of gears, hoses, a hydraulic cylinder, hubcaps and other found objects – is named for the great Soviet sprinter Valery Borzov, who won gold in a pair of sprint events in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Other Larsen pieces on the ASAMA grounds include “Nastia,” named after American Olympic gymnast Anastasia “Nastia” Lukin, the all-around champion at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Other Larsen works featured in the Sport Sculpture Park represent world-renowned Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz, basketball player Michael Jordan and baseball player Bo Jackson.

The Sport Sculpture Park is also home to an oak tree descended from the saplings given to medalists in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. American athletes in pre-WWII Berlin were given oak tree saplings by their Olympic host in 1936. Gold medal sprinter John Woodruff planted his in Connellsville, Pa. Years later, a sapling from Woodruff’s oak tree was given to the Academy. Today, it stands nearly two stories tall.

Visitors to ASAMA will also find several complete collections of official Olympic posters, including those from the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and 2008 in Beijing, China.

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.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala.  For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

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

Gift Sculpture of Famous Caddie Now Greets Visitors to American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Dr TJ and McCollough with Caddie Sculpture

United States Sports Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich and Susan N. McCollough, Academy trustee and Emerita member of the Academy’s Art Committee, admire the sculpture “Keep Yer Eye on the Ball” that was recently added to American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA). Jupiter, Fla., real estate professional Cary Lichtenstein donated the sculpture by Clyde Ross Morgan that commemorates the 1913 U.S. Open when 10-year-old caddie Eddie Lowery inspired amateur golfer Francis Ouimet to win the prestigious golf tournament over highly favored professionals of the day.

DAPHNE, Ala. – A life-sized sculpture of one of the most famous caddies in golf history now greets visitors to the United States Sports Academy thanks to a recent donation to the institution’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Donated to ASAMA by Jupiter, Fla., real estate professional, golfer and artist Cary Lichtenstein and sculpted by renowned artist Clyde Ross Morgan, the bronze caddie – titled “Keep Yer Eye on the Ball” – was inspired by a famous incident at the 1913 U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass.  That was when the underdog 20-year-old amateur golfer Francis Ouimet was victorious over golf’s greats of the day after being encouraged by his 10-year-old caddie, Eddie Lowery, to “be sure to keep your eye on the ball.”

Ouimet won the U.S. Open title that year in a playoff against heavily favored professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, the reigning British Open champion.  Ouimet was the first amateur to win the U.S. Open, a rare feat achieved by only five amateurs in history, the last occurring in 1933. Continue reading

Mobile Resident Donates LeRoy Neiman Olympic Art Posters to American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Harry Fisher Neiman Gift 24 May

Mobile, Ala., resident Harry R. Fisher, left, recently donated a set of three Olympic art posters by artist LeRoy Neiman to United States Sports Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich, right, at the American Sport Art Museum & Archives.

DAPHNE, Ala. – The United States Sports Academy recently received a donation of three LeRoy Neiman Olympic art posters to its American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA), expanding one of the museum’s most popular collections among visitors.

The posters, which feature the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, were donated to ASAMA by Mobile, Ala., resident Harry R. Fisher. The posters feature swimming and gymnastics and were distributed by Fisher’s former employer, ARAMARK, to commemorate the 1988 Summer Olympic Games, which were hosted in Seoul, South Korea.

“I had this wonderful LeRoy Neiman art hanging in my house for many years and I have enjoyed it greatly,” Fisher said. “But now it is time for visitors to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives to enjoy it as much as I have.” Continue reading

WKRG Ch. 5 Features United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA)

The United States Sports Academy’s contributions to sport education and sport art recently were featured on two segments on Mobile, Alabama’s WKRG-TV Ch. 5. Sports anchor Randy Patrick visited the campus to report on the Academy’s online sport education programs and its long-time contribution to sport education in the U.S. and around the world. His second feature focused on the public service the Academy provides through America’s largest sport art museum, the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA).

Click here for the stories: 
Academy sport education (ran on 2 May 2018): https://youtu.be/1s9DFybhTwc
ASAMA (ran on 6 May 2018): https://youtu.be/_6-R9h0FYko

Sport Artist Rick Rush Collector Donates Signed Prints to Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Art Committee with Rick Rush art

United States Sports Academy Founding President and Art Committee member Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy Trustee and Art Committee member Emerita Susan McCollough (center) and Academy Art Committee Chair Nancy Raia admire selections from the Rick Rush collection at the American Sport Art Museum & Archives in Daphne, Ala.

DAPHNE, Ala. – Two collectors of the work of world renowned sport artist and United States Sports Academy 2011 Sport Artist of the Year Rick Rush recently donated a large collection of his signed serigraphs to the collection of the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Michael and Donna McIntyre of Destin, Fla., recently donated 46 Rick Rush signed prints to ASAMA, where many will be put on display along with the Academy’s already large collection of the artist’s works.   Rush, known as “America’s Sport Artist,” has gained a worldwide following for his colorful paintings that depict a variety of sports. Continue reading

Fairhope Resident Donates Autographed LeRoy Neiman Tiger Print to American Sport Art Museum and Archives

LeRoy Neiman art gift

Fairhope resident Jeff Hosterman, left, recently donated an autographed print, “Portrait of a Tiger,” by LeRoy Neiman, famed sport artist and 2007 United States Sports Academy Sport Artist of the Year, to the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA). Receiving is Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

DAPHNE, Ala. – A Fairhope resident has donated an autographed tiger print by famed sport artist LeRoy Neiman to the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Jeff Hosterman donated “Portrait of a Tiger” to the Academy, which honored Neiman with its 2007 Sport Artist of the Year Award. Neiman, credited by many as the inventor of contemporary sport art, died in 2012 at the age of 91. ASAMA has several of his works on display.

Hosterman recently moved to Fairhope after retiring from the electronic banking industry in Atlanta. He said a visit to ASAMA as a new resident in the community inspired him to make the gift.

“The American Sport Art Museum and Archives is a beautiful place,” he said.

“The museum is the right place for this art, not at my home, so people can enjoy it with the rest of the great art here.”

“Portrait of a Tiger” depicts a colorful tiger staring off the canvas and stalking in the grass, featuring bright oranges, yellows and greens. The donor noted that the tiger is the mascot of his alma mater, Princeton University. He said some might associate the gift with the Auburn University mascot, which would complement another of the more popular Neiman prints at ASAMA – an image of legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Neiman’s other works on display at ASAMA include a collection of watercolor prints representing numerous sports in the 1972 Munich Olympics, as well as with images of boxing, hockey, fencing and many others.

Neiman, a colorful and entertaining artist instantly recognized by his handlebar mustache, became widely known with his appearances on live television painting athletes at the very moments that they were competing in the Olympics. He painted brilliantly colored, stunningly energetic images of the sports world, capturing its motion and emotion in his brushstrokes.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, who founded ASAMA in 1984, praised Neiman for his ability to portray sport action quickly through a variety of mediums.

“LeRoy Neiman’s name is synonymous with sport art,” Dr. Rosandich said. “When anyone would talk about sport art, they would inevitably mention his name. No one contributed more to sport art than he did with his presence on TV turning out great art. He was just as colorful as his paintings.”

Neiman was the official artist at five Olympiads, including creating on-the-spot images on live television during the 1972 Summer Games in Munich and the 1976 Games in Montreal. Neiman was the official artist of the Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid in 1980 and in Sarajevo in 1984, as well as the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984.

Neiman found a niche in sport art that was untouched and pioneered the genre with great enthusiasm.

“For an artist, watching Joe Namath throw a football or Willie Mays hit a baseball is an experience far more overpowering than painting a beautiful woman or leading political figure,” Neiman once said. “Concentrating on sports has helped me because I couldn’t refer back to past movements. There hasn’t been any sports art to speak of. I’ve had the field pretty much to myself.”

His role in pop culture spanned for decades, creating works for Playboy magazine since its inception in 1954. The series “Man at His Leisure” appeared in the magazine for 15 years, and included his impressions of events, such as the Grand Prix in Monaco, the Beatles in London and the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Neiman’s powerful imagery of boxing, especially of Muhammad Ali, earned him induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007. His paintings and sketches of Ali during 15 years of the prizefighter’s boxing career permanently reside at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky. He was so closely identified with the world of boxing that actor/director Sylvester Stallone tapped Neiman to appear in four of his “Rocky” movies.

The St. Paul, Minn., native’s works are in many private and public museums, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., which Neiman selected to house his archives.

Founded in 1984 and located on the Academy campus, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

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.

The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala.  For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Artists Valyraki, Weldon Hold ‘Women Bridging Worlds’ Exhibit in Greece

Dr. Mina Valyraki

Dr. Mina Valyraki

DAPHNE, Ala. – Two highly accomplished artists from different continents separated by thousands of miles are coming together for a joint exhibition in Greece through a relationship built upon shared involvement with the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Reflecting the global reach of the Academy and ASAMA, artists Dr. Mina Papatheodorou Valyraki of Athens, Greece, and B’Beth Weldon of Fairhope, Ala., will share a month-long exhibition in Athens entitled “Women Bridging Worlds: Celebrating Artistic and Cultural Crossroads.”

After an opening reception on Friday, 16 March 2018 at 7 p.m., the exhibition will run through 14 April 2018.  It will be held at the famed Ikastikos Kiklos Sianti Gallery in Athens. Continue reading

Tom Brady, Sung Hyun Park Named United States Sports Academy’s 2017 Male and Female Athlete of the Year

Tom Brady and Sung Hyun ParkDAPHNE, Ala. – The United States Sports Academy has named New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and South Korean golfer Sung Hyun Park as the winners of its male and female Athlete of the Year awards for 2017.

Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl LI on 5 February 2017. Brady was named the game’s MVP after leading the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history. His 466 passing yards and 62 passing attempts were Super Bowl records. Brady is also a leading candidate for the NFL’s 2017-18 MVP award, having led his team back to Super Bowl LII.  Brady is the only NFL quarterback to win five Super Bowls, and will have a chance for his sixth.  Brady was previously selected as the Academy’s male Athlete of the Year for 2015. Continue reading