Exhibit brings football art to Ohio


CANTON, Ohio — Sports have been part of America since its beginning. Now, a new art exhibit is the first to gather depictions of football in art, tracing the sport’s connection with this country.

Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present is the first comprehensive assembly of work by American artists focusing on football. The exhibit will be on view Aug. 1 through Oct. 29 at the Canton Museum of Art, 1001 Market Avenue North.

A special public reception will be held Aug. 10 from 6-8 p.m.

Scrimmage will allow audiences from around the country to discover and explore football and art in a community steeped in both.

“It is amazing to see how artists have been responding to football and interpreting its prominent role in American life since the 19th century,” said Danielle Knapp, who co-curated the exhibit for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, which organized the exhibition with the Gregory Allican Museum of Art at Colorado State University.

“For most of the artists in this exhibition, their fame and recognition came for a much more broad body of work, of which football imagery may have been one small part,” she added. “But it is fascinating to think about why they each chose to depict the sport at a certain time in American cultural history.

Works were assembled from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Figge Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, The Rockwell Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, Yale University, Canton Museum of Art, and numerous other public and private collections.

Scrimmage, which features 60 works from American artists, details the history of football from the end of the Civil War to the present, exploring themes such as race, teamwork, and competition.

Special programs

Several collaborative events are planned during the Canton exhibit:

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (Aug. 1-6) will connect Hall of Fame players to audiences with panel discussions of health issues, race in sports, and the linkage of football and art. Dates and times of the presentations will be announced as they are made available.
  • Arts In Stark ‘The Eleven’ Art Project (Aug. 4) will unveil the newest mural, Super Bowl III, by artist Dirk Rozich with a free public reception at the Cultural Center for the Arts.
  • AULTCARE Family Field Day (Sept. 9) will be a free event to engage in outdoor arts and sports activities, and explore the Scrimmage exhibit through tours led by local high school football coaches, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Canton Ballet (August-October) will perform variations of Touchdowns and Tutus, a program featuring high school football players paired with dancers; at various community events.
  • Canton Symphony Orchestra (Sept. 3) will present a Summer in the Park “Tailgating” concert reliving football in music from film and television in advance of NFL season kickoff.
  • Massillon Museum (August-October) continues an exhibit series with its Paul Brown collection, celebrating Brown as the first coach of the Cleveland Browns and a leader in racial integration of football.
  • Canton Palace Theatre (Sept. 7-8) will present Football Film Days.
  • Stark District Library (August-October) will be presenting programs based on the book Rudy: My Story, which was chosen for the Library’s One Book, One Community feature.


Regular admission is $8 for adults; $6 seniors and students; free for museum members and children 12 and under.

For more information call 330-453-.7666 or visit www.cantonart.org.

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Next step: Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.