There is no one pursuit that can bring the diverse parts of a nation together like sport can. It is in microcosm everything that makes a country great. It can pit diverse cities and regions against each other while at the same time providing a unifying force that will allow people from varied cultural and regional backgrounds to share in a vision that will make that nation whole. These are the notions of sportsmanship, honor and glory and the idea that all are created equal once on the battlefield of the sporting ground.
Nowhere is this more celebrated than at the National Museum of Sport. This venerable institution found its latest home at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Although it currently is in a fine arts limbo and looking for its new home there is no doubt that its collection of fine art that celebrates all that is wonderful about sport in all its aspects will soon find a new home.
This incredible collection of fine art pieces which cover sports from boxing to athletics and sports where America has excelled such as basketball and baseball, as well as international pursuits such as boxing will no doubt be housed in a prestigious setting sometime in the near future.
The collection was started by Germain G. Glidden, himself an avid sporting personality and had its first home in Madison Square Garden where it opened its doors to an adoring public in 1968. It then became somewhat of a travelling attraction. It moved from its Madison Square home to the University of New Haven and from then on to Bank One Tower in Indianapolis.
However, perhaps the highlight of the exhibitions that it hosted was when it was one of the star attractions of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Since that highlight the exhibits and art featuring such well known artists as Elaine de Kooning and Andy Warhol has been an attraction that sports fans have flocked to in their droves.
However, the organizers have also not rested on the laurels of the incredible artwork that they have at their disposal – they have also reached out to enrich the artistic heritage that sport can provide. Today the National Art Museum of Sport provides artists from across the globe with the opportunity to take part in competitions that will allow winners to showcase the best of their work at those exhibitions that the Museum hosts on a regular basis.
The National Art Museum of Sport is more than simply a showcase of what makes sport a great unifier of peoples from a cross the globe. It is also one of the most important ways that sporting legends and great artists can allow people from all walks of life to appreciate what sport is all about. It is not only about competition and conflict about who can be the best of the best – it is also about what unifies us all in the pursuit of excellence.