Sports Stadium or Art Gallery?

Michael Coppens

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Posted on February 16, 2011

Posted in Do Good, Houston Arts Community, Official Schipul Blog | Comments Off

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When you hear the name Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, the last person you’d associate with him is Dominique de Menil, founder of The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. However, you will be surprised to find they are much closer than you think.

There is an article in this month’s Texas Monthly titled Paint by Numbers that takes an in depth look at one of the most ambitious contemporary arts collections recently brought together in the State of Texas. What makes this collection unique is this “gallery” just hosted the Super Bowl XLV. I am, of course, talking about the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

I found the entire article incredibly fascinating. While some will sniff at the idea of the art in the stadium being compared to the frescoes that adorned the vomitoria (click on the link, it’s not what you think) of the Roman Colosseum, Mr. Jones has recreated the same thing in Arlington, and he’s done so with contemporary art.

For the record, I am not a big fan of Jerry Jones, but I greatly respect what he has done here. It’s a surprisingly forward thinking move from an organization drowning in sponsorship money  from beer and soft drink companies. An NFL franchise as an arts benefactor makes so much sense, it’s hard for me to believe it hasn’t been a higher priority, if not a legislative requirement of publicly funded sports stadiums.

The amount of money pumping through the professional sports leagues is mind boggling, and incredibly hard to swallow at times. The Dallas Cowboys stadium alone carried a price tag of $1.15 BILLION. To see some of this money directed into the arts makes me happy, and hopeful we can see more money pumped into the arts communities of all cities that are home to a professional sports franchise.

At a time when government funding of the arts is in danger of being cut on all levels, it is high time owners of all professional sports franchises try harder to keep up with the Joneses.

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