Craig David & Sports Stadium Fine Art

Posted in Visual Arts on Jul 09, 2010


craig david mural at target field

You know how weekends are always too short to fit in everything you want to do? Well, sports stadiums to the rescue?!?

The new trend in big sports arenas around the country is to combine high art and sports. Martini, meet Miller Lite. It’s a culture fix while you cheer your team – I like that kind of multi-tasking.

Leading the way in this fascinating development is the Dallas Cowboys stadium. The Dallas Cowboys Arts Program is funded entirely by Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones and his wife Gene, who are both prominent contemporary art collectors. The program is “an ongoing initiative to commission contemporary artists to create monumental, site-specific installations for the recently completed (in Fall 2009) Cowboys Stadium.” Yeehaw, Cowboys!

See photos of some of these site specific installations below. I only included public art, though there are some other stunning pieces that are being displayed in private club areas of the stadium, like a hanging installation by the renowned Olafur Eliasson.

jim isermann's "untitled" on the NW ramp wall of Cowboys Stadium (photo credit for Cowboys stadium photos:todd eberle for dallas cowboys art program via

trenton doyle hancock's "from legend to a choir" on the SE ramp wall of dallas cowboy stadium

franz ackermann's "(meet me) at the waterfall"

Similarly, when it’s completed in 2012, the new Florida Marlins stadium in Miami will be home to inspiring public art by acclaimed pop artist Red Grooms and the internationally-known kinetic and optical artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (link to a gallery of Cruz-Diez’ work.)

red grooms, "subway"

red grooms, "subway"

And I’m going to have to believe that the public, site-specific art commissioned for Target Field, the Minnesota Twins new stadium, helped it earn the honor of Best Stadium of any sports stadiums, as deemed by that sports bible ESPN magazine! (the list is here in black and white pixels.)

One of the public art commissions at Target Field is an intricate and compelling trio of large murals by the very talented St. Paul artist Craig David. At the direction of the stadium committee, each mural panel portrays a different theme: sustainability, history of baseball, and transit.

Using both granite and porcelain tile for its durability, Craig painstakingly used a bandsaw to cut the pieces for the mural. He told me that if you worked a 40 hour week it would take 3-4 months just to cut the pieces for one panel, but due to time constraints he managed to finish it in just 2 months per panel. Some of the installation, which took about one month per panel, was done in winter. Did I mention this was in Minnesota?

Craig’s larger-than-life scenes are full of detail that tell entire histories and make important statements. Hear from Craig in the 2 minute videos below as he walks us through each panel. I loved hearing right from the artist what he intended in his work…right down to the fancy $500 granite outfit!


for more great public art, see christopher janney’s sound art installations