NFL star Kelvin Beachum uses art collection as activism

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Shortly after their wedding, Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum and his wife Jessica were cruising when an artwork depicting endangered tigers caught their eye. The couple love wildlife and were captivated enough to purchase the paint to add to their home. They could not have imagined that a singular purchase would spark a fascination with the art world and lead them on a journey of researching established and emerging artists while amassing a collection that would one day be its own exhibition.

From Feb. 18 to May 22, the couple will lend 10 of their paintings to Beachum’s alma mater, Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The exhibition “Narrative as Reality: A World Reimagined/Selections from the Jessica and Kelvin Beachum Family Collection” will be presented at the Hamon Arts Library. Each piece in the exhibit represents a perspective of the black experience and includes works by Ryan Cosbert, Dominic Chambers, Robert Hodge, Nelson Makamo, Delita Martin, Mario Moore, Sungi Mlengeya, Athi-Patra Ruga, and Ferrari Sheppard.

“Art has really become an integral part of the fabric of our family,” says Beachum. “It proves that when you start exploring, discovering and being curious, it can take you to interesting places.”

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Throughout the NFL veteran’s 10-year career, he has advocated to end national and global hunger, while providing access to science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics in underserved communities. The art collection set the Beachums on a journey of discovery about black history and other walks of life. Their personal collection is made up of works by artists from all walks of life; each piece resonates with them from a historical or abstract point of view. Artwork also adorns the wall of her children’s room. “I think it’s super impactful to use art to continue to define and explore what I’ve been talking about for years,” he says.

Beachum is also a member of the SMU Boards of Trustees for the Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the Lyle School of Engineering. While his exhibition will highlight some of his favorite artists, he is most excited about the outreach that will come from it. Exhibiting artists Cosbert, Chambers and Hodge will visit studio art classes at the school to lead discussions about their work, and Beachum looks forward to what will happen for those on campus and in and around the Dallas community. to have exposure to the artists and their work.

“I think working as joy and pain by Mario Moore is going to spark a very interesting conversation, given the cycles that are happening within the African-American community,” he says. “I think of how Dominic Chambers’ work alludes to resting black people, which is under-represented. It’s great to be an athlete and to have what I have, but to be able to take advantage of some of the pieces in our collection, to be the steward of it for the world… that’s what matters most to me .

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