Although no fans filled Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch Dominic Thiem and Naomi Osaka win the 2020 US Open, the stands were not entirely empty.
Fans may have noticed a colorful couple of rows just behind the baseline inside of the stadium. The work was an art exhibit called "Black Lives To The Front" and it aimed to celebrate 18 talented Black artists while calling attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The art exhibit was a part of the US Open's "Be Open" campaign. Tennis is a sport that has jumped over many racial and gender barriers and is still advocating for fairness and equality. The USTA confronted the issues by showcasing stunning visual pieces in hopes of a better tomorrow.
Re-post: A friendly PSA as we go into this #holidayweekend: E is for everybody. That means you. #wearadamnmask Artwork: From @sammyjeanw’s “The New Black ABCs” included in @crenshawdairymart’s #virtualexhibition in support of incarcerated artists, “CARE NOT CAGES: Processing a Pandemic," now on @galleryplatform.la. Thank you @lala_magazine!
The art exhibit was showcased in Arthur Ashe Stadium throughout the tournament and sparked meaningful conversations of inclusivity and diversity. With the US Open over, the USTA is auctioning off all 18 pieces with the profits going to the Rally to Rebuild initiative.
Rally to Rebuild was launched in June to aid the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, which provides tennis lessons, tutoring and development services for more than 160,000 under-resourced children across the United States.
NJTL—which was founded by Arthur Ashe in 1969—has struggled during the pandemic without the ability to network and hold fundraising events as normal. For much of 2020, the organization was forced to suspend and cancel the majority of its services for the youth. The USTA took note of the desolate situation and pledged to raise $5 million, with a $1 million match by the USTA Foundation board.
The art auction will help aid NJTL even further. One of the 18 featured artists is Brittany Williams and her contributed work titled "Resilience" is dedicated to Black mothers. Her pieces typically focus on people in the moment, live experiences and everyday surroundings.
"Black mothers don't necessary get the credit that they serve when it comes to raising black children," Williams said. "This piece is me giving them their flowers because if the world won’t, I will."
Resilience Acrylic on canvas This painting is dedicated to black mothers who are committed to challenging the narrative around motherhood. I feel like black mothers tend to be judged the hardest and looked down upon when it comes to raising a family. A lot of the experiences that black mothers and black women go through are always more challenging and unnecessary than any other race. Even with privilege and access, black women are still looked down upon. I also want to honor all the black trailblazing mothers who are on the frontlines fighting for racial injustice, reproductive health, equality in the workspace, etc. Tune into the @usopen matches and catch all the artwork done by other amazing artist
Bidders have until Friday to place bids on the 18 original pieces.