Hawks, Lillian Blades, Future Foundation & National Black Arts Festival Partner on Creation of Special Art Piece For State Farm Arena

Special collaboration for the newly transformed home of the Hawks exposes Atlanta youth to the Arts

ATLANTA -- Future Foundation students experienced an amazing introduction into the art world yesterday at an exclusive workshop with premier visual artists, led by the award winning public artist, Lillian Blades. The event that was held at the Jefferson Park Recreation Center in East Point, and included 1-on-1 instruction by National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) artists Charly Palmer, Okeeba Jubalo and Tracy Murrell. The students worked alongside the artists on Blades’ large format “True to Atlanta” inspired piece that will be a permanent display in the all-new State Farm Arena.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim, former Atlanta Hawks forward and founder of the Future Foundation shared, “I am ecstatic that the Future Foundation is partnering with the Atlanta Hawks and the National Black Arts Festival on this project. It provides us a unique opportunity to expose our youth to the arts and gives them an exciting chance to be part of a permanent mural that will impact the Atlanta community for generations to come!”

The collaboration was a result of a conversation between art consultant Amy Parry and Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim, CEO of the Future Foundation, when they realized there was an inherent synergy between the artist’s work and the Future Foundation’s mission to expose and educate youth with hands on encounters. 

"This artwork demonstrates what’s possible when communities come together. The collaboration of accomplished local artists and creative young minds to produce a piece of State Farm Arena history embodies what ‘True to Atlanta’ is all about,” stated Andrea Carter, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusion for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena.

“Art is a way that people express themselves when they may not have the words or platform to convey their feelings. I think that it is really important that children are allowed to have that “voice.” states Lillian Blades. “Working with the youth provides a chance to connect with, and encourage those that are invigorated by art.”

Blades’ works, which can be seen at www.lillianblades.com, are predominately mixed media assemblages and are made with an assortment of materials, both found and constructed by her in her home based studio. As a public artist she enjoys collaborating with other artists and groups on large-scale assemblages such as the “True To Atlanta” series. Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions throughout various galleries in the United States as well as the Bahamas, Trinidad, Germany and South Africa. Her public commissions include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Jean Childs Young Middle School, and her artwork is also in the collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.

Lillian's work will be featured in the Mint Museum’s first large-scale exhibition to explore the dynamic medium of collage entitled "Under Construction: Collage from the Mint Museum" which opens in December of 2018.

“We are excited to bring acclaimed visual artists Charly Palmer, Okeeba Jubalo, and Tracy Murrell in support of artist, Lillian Blades, to provide an amazing arts education experience for the youth of Future Foundation and enrich the Atlanta community,” said Vikki Morrow, NBAF President and CEO. “For three decades NBAF has advanced the arts and contributions of artists of African descent while reaching back to our youth to develop the next generation of artists of all arts disciplines.”

Fans will be able to view the finished piece at the new State Farm Arena on Saturday, Oct. 20 with the “Welcome to the Neighborhood” Open House Party - a FREE public event inviting fans to experience the new venue following its nearly $200MM transformation. Those interested in attending should register at www.statefarmarena.com/openhouse.

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