Finalists Named for 'Birth of the NFL' Art Project
Four finalists have emerged from the pool of 8o artists representing 30 different states, to compete for a $150,000 commission to create a piece of public art commemorating the “Birth of the NFL.” These are: 1) Omri Amrany/Lou Cella, 2) Michael Clapper, 3) Gail Folwell, and 4) David Griggs. Each finalist will create a design concept to present in February 2013, after which a final decision will be made.
The winning commission will be the first in a series --- The ELEVEN --- a $2 million multi-year project celebrating the greatest moments in professional football history, as defined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The ELEVEN is the brain child of the county arts council (ArtsinStark) and The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. “We are excited because Canton is the cradle of professional football, the birthplace of the National Football League, and the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” says Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry.
The “Birth of the NFL” artwork will be placed very close to the tiny showroom of Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay’s Hupmobile dealership where the agreement was signed on September 17, 1920 creating the National Football League. Subsequent commissions, each with a different artist, will be placed within walking distance of each other so that The ELEVEN becomes a tourist attraction for Canton, Ohio.
The ELEVEN greatest moments as defined by The Pro Football Hall of Fame:
- 1958 Championship Game (Colts/NY Giants)
- Formation American Football League (1959)
- Pete Rozelle Named Commissioner (1960)
- Formation of the NFL (1920)
- Red Grange Turns Pro (1925)
- The NFL Draft (1936)
- Reintegration of Pro Football (1946)
- Monday Night Football (1970)
- Super Bowl III (1968)
- The Ice Bowl (1967)
- AFL/NFL Merger (1966)
Omri Amrany and Lou Cella Omri Amrany is an international artist who works in sculpture, painting and drawing. He was born and raised in a family of artists on a kibbutz in Israel. Lou Cella grew up in a family of artists in the Chicago area. Amrany and Cella have partnered on many public art projects including ones at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI; the United Center in Chicago, IL; and Notre Dame, IN. “I am grateful to have collaborated with many people around the world in my own quest to develop the highest level of skill possible,” says Amrany. (Pictured: “Michael Jordan” bronze.)
Michael Clapper Educa ted in design at the Wendell Castle School in Rochester, NY, Michael now focuses on creating contemporary public and residential sculpture. He creates mostly from carved stone and fabricated steel and says “…it is my ability to provide public artworks that convey the site’s story through a powerful simplicity of form that I am the most proud.” He has created public works in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad, among them: Kent Place in Denver, CO, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Fremont, CA. (Pictured: “Mining Minds” steel)
Gail Folwell is an award-winning artist, best known for her commissioned sports-themed sculptures, particularly The Edge — a twice-life-size, one-of-a-kind ski racer in Vail. She’s produced commissioned work for the National Hockey League and created a swimming monument for Bowling Green State University.
“Art can inspire, teach and heal,” says Folwell. “I create sculpture to capture the vibrancy and energy of a moment…. ” (Pictured: “The Edge” bronze.)
David Griggs is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts. For the last 25 years he has worked as a Public Artist and has created over 45 commissioned works of art in the United States and Canada. Recent commissions include projects for Albuquerque, NM; Anchorage, AK; and Chicago, IL. “My work embraces the character of a situation and embodies the spirit of a site,” says Griggs. (Pictured: “Aurora Akimbo” fiberglass and steel.)