Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Art of Futbol

"Goal" by Teresa Puente

The beautiful game, the world's game, is an art unto itself. For the world's best soccer players, the pitch is a blank canvas where works of art are created game by game through skill and athleticism. For artists, soccer is the inspiration for their art. The Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer brings the two together for the third annual Art of Futbol art exhibition on Thursday, May 16.

Hosted by its charitable wing, the Chicago Fire Foundation, the club has assembled twenty Chicago-area artists and their original works to celebrate the art of futbol and the passion it instills. Soccer is forever entwined with the city's immigrant roots. Roots and people whose love of the game transcended boundaries, soccer brought and continues to bring ethnic communities together on the pitch in their adopted home of Chicago. The Art of Futbol provides local artists with an opportunity to capture the beauty of the sport by mining its rich past while sharing their unique vision with the broader community. 

Pilsen poet and photographer Mark Butkus will present a mixed media polyptych of the poem, The Fire with individual stanzas displayed with images of soccer taken in Italy, Mexico, New York and Chicago. "The Art of Futbol allows me to express my love of soccer in a creative way," says Butkus, who also exhibited in 2012. "You get to meet the players, other artists and give back to the community through the Chicago Fire Foundation. It's a win, win, win situation."

Columbia College professor Teresa Puente comes to the Art of Futbol from two perspectives. She previously attended as a guest and this year as an artist. Her submission, "Goal" is an image of a goalie in full flight diving across the net to make a save. Teresa's photo was captured in a small town in Mexico on the day that country won the Gold medal in soccer at the 2012 London Olympics.

"Kids went out to play in the local soccer field. Some ran barefoot and they didn't have enough players for a full team," Puente said. "But in their hearts they were proud to be Mexican and they too dreamt of gold."

Tickets for the event, to be held at the Society Art Gallery on May 16, 2013 start at $25. Two beverages are included with admission and proceeds benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation. For $10 more, guests also receive a ticket to the June 2 match between the Chicago Fire and Washington's DC United.

The Chicago Fire Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps the Chicago Fire give back to the community through grants and contributions. The Foundation has raised and distributed more than $1.5 million since forming in 1998.

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