Tag Archives: Cleveland Browns

Jeffrey Keirn Wins “Monday Night Football” Competition

Canton artist Jeffrey Keirn is the winner of the $5,000 prize to create a design that captures the spirit of the sixth moment of The ELEVEN: Monday Night Football. His design will become part of a giant banner mural to be installed on the south wall of the Chase Bank Tower (101 Central Plaza South) in downtown Canton, OH. On Monday night September 21, 1970 ABC-TV aired the first NFL game ever — on a weeknight. Some thought the experiment was doomed. But more than 80,000 fans, and a huge television audience, watched the Cleveland Browns defeat Joe Namath’s New York Jets 31-21. Producer Roone Arledge dramatically changed how football was produced on television, starting with using a trio of announcers that included Keith Jackson, Don Meredith and Howard Cosell. The rest is history, and why the Pro Football Hall of Fame selected Monday Night Football as one of professional football’s greatest moments for ArtinStark’s public art series The ELEVEN. Four other Ohio artists will receive $500 prizes for their creative entries: Tommy Morgan (Minerva), Rachel Vaught (Columbus), Dick Close (Cincinnati), and Derek Brennan (Lakewood). “We received lots of great ideas,” says ArtsinStark CEO Robb Hankins, “but Keirn’s bold concept of having the teams exploding right out of the TV set really set him apart as the winner.” The sponsors of the Monday Night Football are: The Deuble Foundation, The Hoover Foundation, Stark Community Foundation, and The Timken Foundation.
 Monday Night Football on Chase Bank Tower – 101 Central Plaza South – before winning image for inside TV has been selectedThis past August, ArtsinStark invited Ohio artists to send in their concepts for an image that would go inside the giant television set being created as part of Monday Night Football. All the entries followed the rules by sending in ideas that would neatly fit inside the TV set — but Keirn’s, whose submission broke out of the TV and took over the entire wall. Members of the Selection Committee were: Sally Morse Dale, Max Deuble, Brian Zimmerman, Emil Alecusan, and Max Barton. 

 ArtsinStark has completed five of the ELEVEN moments to date: The Birth (sculpture), The Draft (sculpture), The Merger (sculpture), The Reintegration (banner mural), and the Super Bowl III (mural). Monday Night Football will be the sixth moment of the series. Keirn, who is a chalk pastel street artist, is a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and a graphic designer by day. He will have 22 days to finalize his concept, so that ArtsinStark can get Monday Night Football installed by Christmas.

 Here is an excerpt from the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 150 Anniversary Book that explains why Monday Night Football is so important: Sundays have long been synonymous with NFL football. But in 1970, a new weekly tradition that included one featured game on Monday night forever changed the landscape of the game. Few could imagine the enduring impact of ABC’s telecast of the NFL during prime time on a weeknight. Doubters were prevalent when the Cleveland Browns faced the New York Jets in the Monday Night Football debut on September 21, 1970. Yet the tradition became a nationwide phenomenon that captured huge ratings and in turn was a major reason for the NFL’s dramatic rise in popularity in the years that followed.

 BACKGROUND – The NFL will be 100 years old in 2020. ArtsinStark’s goal is to have all 11 moments installed in time for that big celebration. Here are the eleven moments with a short description of each. 

1. Birth of the NFL, 1920. On September 17, representatives of the league’s ten charter teams, including Jim Thorpe and George Halas, meet in the showroom of Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay’s automobile dealership, and create the NFL. (On August 1, 2014 Michael Clapper unveiled his 25-foot steel and glass sculpture.)
2. Red Grange turns Pro, 1925. The Chicago Bears sign college superstar halfback Harold “Red” Grange and he becomes pro football’s first big gate attraction.  

3. The NFL Draft, 1936. NFL Commissioner Bert Bell’s idea of teams selecting college players by inverse order, based on how they finished the prior season, changes the future of clubs overnight. (On August 7, 2015 Gail Folwell unveiled her bronze sculpture.)         
 4. Reintegration of Pro Football, 1946. The Los Angeles Rams sign Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, the Cleveland Browns sign Marion Motely and Bill Willis, and the doors of professional football open for African Americans. (Paul Collins created the painting. Both the painting and the mural were unveiled on August 5, 2016.)

 5. 1958 NFL Championship Game. In what has been called the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts come back to beat the New York Giants in first “sudden death” NFL championship

6. Formation of the American Football League, 1959. The AFL is formed and for ten seasons expands into new markets, creates opportunities, and brings tremendous innovation to the game.
7. Pete Rozelle named NFL Commissioner, 1960. Rozelle begins his 29-year career during which he makes pro football America’s most popular sport, gets the first league-wide TV contract, negotiates the NFL/AFL merger, and transforms the Super Bowl into an international extravaganza.
8. AFL/NFL Merger, 1966. The costly battle between two rival leagues for players and markets ends with the June 8, 1966 announcement of the AFL-NFL merger. (David Griggs unveiled his granite and steel sculpture on June 23, 2016 in front the YMCA downtown.)
 9. The Ice Bowl, 1967. In frigid conditions at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Eve, Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21 – 17, cementing the legacy of coach Vince Lombardi and the 1960 Green Bay Packers.

 10. Super Bowl III, 1968. Joe Namath, star quarterback of the AFL’s New York Jets, predicts victory over the NFL’s heavily favored Baltimore Colts and — in one of the greatest upsets in sports history — does exactly that 16 – 7. (On August 4 Dirk Rozich unveiled his mural on the side of Cultural Center for the Arts.) 

 11. Monday Night Football, 1970. The phenomenal success of NFL games telecast during prime time on a weeknight begins on September 21, 1970, when the Cleveland Browns face the New York Jets in ABC-TV’s Monday Night Football debut.                                       

Giant Mural Celebrates “The Reintegration of Pro Football”

On Friday August 5 at 4:30 pm, on the side of the five-story Bliss Parking Deck (238 Cleveland Avenue NW) in downtown Canton, ArtsinStark unveiled a 30 by 90 foot mural commemorating The Reintegration of Pro Football in 1946.

More than 100 artists from 33 states applied to create the painting upon which the giant mural is based. The selection committee chose as the winner Paul Collins from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. Collins designed the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize Medal, won the People’s Choice Award in Paris, and has been voted one of the top 20 painters in America. “There had been a handful of African American players in pro football between 1904 and 1933,” says Robb Hankins, ArtsinStark CEO, “but from 1934 to 1946 — pro football had its own color barrier.” The mural memorializes how football history was changed forever in 1946, when the Los Angeles Rams signed Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, and the Cleveland Browns signed Marion Motley and Bill Willis. “The ELEVEN is a $2.2 million public art series of ArtsinStark and The Pro Football Hall of Fame,” explains ArtsinStark board chair Max Deuble. “We are celebrating the greatest moments in professional football history, and these eleven monumental sculptures, murals, and multi-media art will all be within walking distance of one another in downtown Canton.”

In 1946, these four African American football players brought about the permanent reintegration of pro football, a full year before Jackie Robinson did it for baseball. A documentary called “The Forgotten Four” released last year tells the story of their lives — www.ArtsinStark.com/eleven . The Pro Football Hall of Fame selected the eleven greatest moments. ArtsinStark is raising the $2.2 million to install them and commissioning all the artists. The “Reintegration of Pro Football” moment of The ELEVEN is being sponsored by 1) The George H. Deuble Foundation, 2) The Hoover Foundation, 3) Stark Community Foundation, and 4) Timken Foundation of Canton. In-kind Supporters are Hilscher-Clarke Electric and KebCo Precision Fabricators. The goal is to have all eleven of the moments done by 2020 for the 100th anniversary of the NFL.

In August, 2014 artist Michael Clapper unveiled the first moment, his 25-foot steel and glass sculpture The Birth of the NFL. In August, 2015 artist Gail Folwell delivered to Canton the second moment, a five figure bronze sculpture memorializing The NFL Draft. This June artist David Griggs installed his steel and granite sculpture commemorating The AFL/NFL Merger.

The Reintegration of Pro Football is the first mural.

Paul Collins created the 30-painting series “Other Voices- A Native American Tableau” which opened in New York and then went to Paris. Collins was commissioned by the Amway Japan Corporation to create paintings on the customs of the Japanese people. His “Voices of Israel” exhibit of 25 paintings on the history of Israel has toured all over the U.S. He was one of 23 painters commissioned by Anheuser Busch to create works celebrating African leaders, which led to him being featured in a TV commercial commemorating the original airing of “Roots.” He is the first African-American artist to paint the portrait of a sitting President of the United States.

BACKGROUND: ArtsinStark — Kids, Jobs, Communities. We are a 46 year old private, non-profit organization that gives out grants, manages the Cultural Center, runs the Annual Arts Campaign, and much more (Canton Arts District, First Fridays, SmArts Program in the schools, 20/20 Vision, and the ELEVEN). More at www.ArtsinStark.com. Our annual budget is $3 million. What we don’t earn, we raise each spring through the Annual Arts Campaign. In May 2016 the Campaign raised $1.7 million— to become the only united arts fund drive in America to ever make goal for 11 years in a row. (Over the last decade we have increased private sector giving to the arts by 85%.)

Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Eleven Greatest Moments
(arranged chronologically)

1. Birth of the NFL, 1920. On September 17, representatives of the league’s ten charter teams, including Jim Thorpe and George Halas, meet in the showroom of Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay’s automobile dealership, and create the NFL. (On August 1, 2014 Michael Clapper unveiled his 25-foot steel and glass sculpture “Birth of the NFL, 1920.”)

2. Red Grange turns Pro, 1925. The Chicago Bears sign college superstar halfback Harold “Red” Grange and he becomes pro football’s first big gate attraction.

3. The NFL Draft, 1936. NFL Commissioner Bert Bell’s idea of teams selecting college players by inverse order, based on how they finished the prior season, changes the future of clubs overnight. (On August 7, 2015 Gail Folwell unveiled her five bronze figure sculpture “The NFL Draft, 1936.”)

4. Reintegration of Pro Football, 1946. The Los Angeles Rams sign Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, the Cleveland Browns sign Marion Motely and Bill Willis, and the doors of professional football open for African Americans. (Paul Collins was commissioned to create a painting for “The Reintegration of Pro Football, 1946.” Both the painting and the mural are being unveiled on August 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm.)

5. 1958 NFL Championship Game. In what has been called the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts come back to beat the New York Giants in first “sudden death” NFL championship

6. Formation of the American Football League, 1959. The AFL is formed and for ten seasons expands into new markets, creates opportunities, and brings tremendous innovation to the game.

7. Pete Rozelle named NFL Commissioner, 1960. Rozelle begins his 29-year career during which he makes pro football America’s most popular sport, gets the first league-wide TV contract, negotiates the NFL/AFL merger, and transforms the Super Bowl into an international extravaganza.

8. AFL/NFL Merger, 1966. The costly battle between two rival leagues for players and markets ends with the June 8, 1966 announcement of the AFL-NFL merger. (David Griggs built “The AFL/NFL Merger, 1966” sculpture, and it was unveiled on June 23, 2016 at 12 noon in front the YMCA downtown.)

9. The Ice Bowl, 1967. In frigid conditions at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Eve, Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21 – 17, cementing the legacy of coach Vince Lombardi and the 1960 Green Bay Packers.

10. Super Bowl III, 1968. Joe Namath, star quarterback of the AFL’s New York Jets, predicts victory over the NFL’s heavily favored Baltimore Colts and — in one of the greatest upsets in sports history — does exactly that 16 – 7.

11. Monday Night Football, 1970. The phenomenal success of NFL games telecast during prime time on a weeknight begins on September 21, 1970, when the Cleveland Browns face the New York Jets in ABC-TV’s Monday Night Football debut.

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