Austin FC teams up with local artists for new project

AUSTIN (KXAN) — “You combine visual art with the art of soccer, and it’s a perfect storm.”

That’s Austin artist Chris Rogers’ perfect description of a new Austin FC project that combines pinpoint passes on the pitch with beautiful brushstrokes off the field.

The club is teaming up with local artists to paint a collection of murals, including a signature piece that will take pride of place at Q2 Stadium, adding a splash of color to the club’s new home.

It will be a rotating mural – with different artists starting with a blank slate every few months – and Rogers is first up with a piece called ‘Whispers of the Heart.’

“It takes so much to create something like this and know it’s going to be painted over in three months,” he laughed. “My plan is to make something that is so insanely good that they’re going to have a hard time painting over it.

“That’s my objective here – to make something that’s going to round kick people in the face when they walk in.”

‘Whispers of the Heart’ will feature a young Black girl with yellow roses in her hair listening to the sounds of three small hummingbirds.

Rogers said the mural is about creativity, particularly how it comes from innocence, as well as symphony in nature.

In addition to the murals, the ATXFC artist initiative will also see local artists creating unique matchday posters to mark every Austin FC home match at Q2 Stadium.

Will Hatch Crosby’s ‘Grow the Legend’ mural for Austin FC (Picture: KXAN/Todd Bynum)

Rogers said he is a big soccer fan, so being involved in the project means that much more.

“To be able to come back and be involved with the MLS and Austin FC in a situation like this is nothing short of serendipitous for me,” he said.

“For me, athletics are art, 100%.”

Clearly, Austin FC agrees.

Q2 Stadium will feature the rotating mural, initially painted by Rogers, which will be completed before the San Jose Earthquakes come to town for the first game on June 19.

The stadium also has a mural reading “listos” and “let’s go” painted by Tara Johnston, while a large mural depicting a tree and Austin FC’s colors of green and black, created by Will Hatch Crosby, stands at the club’s St. David’s Performance Center.

Austin FC’s senior vice-president of marketing James Ruth said the initiative “isn’t a one-time thing,” adding that he wants it to be part of the club’s identity.

“We want to be an entity that lifts all of Austin up, and even if you’re not a soccer fan, you appreciate what we’re doing to help the community and grow Austin culture,” he said.

Ruth added the club carefully selected artists it believes are emblematic of Austin, while highlighting the city’s diversity.

Other artists involved in the project are Will Bryant, Matthew Rodriguez, Emily Eisenhart, ZuZu Perkal, Sloke One, Good Snake, Peelander Yellow, Erik Ross, Jonathan ‘Chaka’ Mahone, Joel Corral and Beth Consetta Rubel.

As part of the initiative, the club will donate roundup contributions from the Verde Store to Creative Action, an arts-based youth development organization, while artists will work with and mentor students from the program.

Alice G. Collins

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