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Athletes go the distance — for art


Artwork by Kristina Taylor, "Sanya Richards-Ross"; Melinda Zavala, "One Eye"; and Brandon Tucker, "Memory"

Top -- Kristina Taylor (track and field), Sanya Richards-Ross, 2011, watercolor

Middle -- Melinda Zavala (track and field), One Eye, 2009

Bottom -- Brandon Tucker '11 (football), Memory, 2010

More Exhibitions.

By Dateline staff

We call them student-athletes, but we could just as easily call them student-artist-athletes, no matter if they are art or science majors.

Twenty such student-artist-athletes from eight of our Intercollegiate Athletics teams are participating in this year’s The Art of Athletes exhibition, the third annual, from this evening through Monday (Jan. 27-30).

The exhibition comprises more than 30 works of painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor and gouache), charcoal, photography, wood, linocut, ink and mixed media. The venue is the Art Building’s Basement Gallery; admission is free. See details below.

The artists come from all four colleges: Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science.

“I just hope people can see and understand that athletes have a passion for more than just their sport,” said Kristina Taylor, an Aggie distance runner who is coordinating this year’s show. “I feel that art brings out a different personality in all of us.”

Taylor, a senior from Murrieta (Riverside County), is a psychology major with a biology emphasis, aiming for a career in forensic science. In her artist statement for The Art of Athletes, she said her minor in art studio has been "an excellent complement” to her participation in cross country and track.

“Being a distance runner has highly influenced my artwork,” she said. “I believe my role as a student-athlete gives me a different edge and unique outlook. My art also fits in well with my sport: I love to draw people and I’m fascinated with the human body.”

Indeed, take a look at Sanya Richards-Ross — a watercolor of one of Taylor's favorite USA Track and Field athlete — one of Taylor's submissions for this year's exhibition.

Her charcoal work The Hurdler depicts another of her favorite USA Track and Field athletes, David Oliver. Taylor showed The Hurdler in the first Art of Athletes exhibition, then donated it to the Aggie Auction, an athletics fundraiser. Not knowing how to price her work, she suggested $150. It sold for twice that.

“A lot of people can see from our tournaments, races and games that we are dedicated, assiduous, persevering, skillful athletes,” she told Dateline UC Davis. “But our artwork shows that we are also zealous photographers, painters and drawers who love anatomy, nature, aerodynamics, politics, music and aquatics, for example.”

As coordinator of this year’s The Art of Athletes, Taylor has seen the artist statements.

“They mention that their creativity is inspired by their sport, mother nature, interesting things they see, whether it be ordinary or extraordinary, things they love, people they look up to, the list can go on and on.

“Some athletes mention that art relieves stress and tension, and I believe that as well. So, in turn, it helps me become a better athlete.”

And a better student, too, inspired and encouraged in athletics and art, driven to use all their talents.

See The Art of Athletes from 2009 and 2010.


WHAT: The Art of Athletes, featuring works by student-athletes in a variety of majors and sports


  • Friday, Jan. 27 — 5-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 28 — noon-6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 29 — 1-5 p.m.
  • Monday, Jan. 30 — 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Opening reception, offering an opportunity to meet the artists: 5:30 -7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27.

WHERE: Basement Gallery, Art Building


SPONSOR: Intercollegiate Athletics

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