Arts and Athletics team up for Homecoming project
From left to right, ETSU student artists Ashlyn York, Katie Murphy and Hannah Oakes will share their talents with Buccaneer football fans at Saturday’s Homecoming game.
Arts and Athletics team up for Homecoming project
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 3, 2017) – When ETSU fans enter the Bank of Tennessee East Entrance at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium for Saturday’s Homecoming football matchup between the Buccaneers and Robert Morris, they will be greeted by an artistic experience.

Thanks to a partnership with ETSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will welcome three students from the Department of Art and Design, as they paint in real time their artistic impression of a Saturday football game inside the Buccaneers’ new, on-campus stadium.

Student artists Ashlyn York, Hannah Oakes and Katie Murphy, with guidance from Professor Christian Rieben, will be painting on a large canvas that will measure 8 feet wide by 5 feet high. The students will begin working on the piece 30 minutes prior to kickoff at approximately 3 p.m., with a goal of completing the work by halftime of the game.

ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Carter said this partnership is an example of how the new stadium – and athletics in general – can showcase the talents of those on campus.

“It is important to us – and a priority – to engage all areas of our great university,” Carter said. “Because one of our primary missions in athletics is to act as an ambassador for our campus community, and to work to introduce the many aspects of our university to the region, this partnership made a lot of sense. We are excited to provide this opportunity for these students to apply their skills in front of a large crowd and we are eager to see the finished product.”

Mira Gerard, chair for the Department of Art & Design, said this will be a special experience for everyone.

“Communities thrive and are lifted up when artists are able to do what we do best, connecting with people not only in fine and performing arts venues such as concert halls, galleries and museums, but also in public spaces and innovative contexts,” Gerard said. “That’s why I’m thrilled that our department has been able to work closely with ETSU athletics on this exciting collaboration. Some of our wonderful painting students will be working in real-time, as a team, to complete a large, exciting, colorful, football-themed painting – not unlike the football team itself, working together in a choreographed space, with the ultimate goal of winning. I can’t wait to see what unfolds.”   

The students are excited as well.

“I am honored to have the chance to represent the department of art and design in partnership with ETSU's football program,” Murphy said. “It makes me proud to be a part of an institution that values both art and athletics. I am excited for the opportunity to capture the enthusiasm of Homecoming weekend within a painting.”

Oakes said she is happy to be part of a football Saturday, especially during Homecoming.

“The opportunity to be a part of this is such an honor,” Oakes said. “I have enjoyed ETSU football since the program began again my freshman year, and having a new stadium on campus was something I was so excited about. So getting to experience my first homecoming in the new stadium while showing the community my passion for painting is something I am ecstatic about.”

York said she was proud to have a chance to represent the arts.

“To be given this opportunity to represent my department at ETSU's Homecoming game is a complete honor,” York said. “I am so thrilled to reflect the football team and work as a team with two of my honorable classmates on this conjoined painting. It is going to be challenging to work as an artist not only in front of an audience but in the new stadium, yet highly enticing.”

Upon completion, the painting will be displayed inside the Ramsey Media Tower and will later be sold at the Excellence Fund auction, which will be held in the spring semester. For more on ETSU’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, visit For more on the Department of Art and Design, see the bio and link below.

Department of Art and Design bio: 

The Department of Art & Design at ETSU is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The department faculty include internationally exhibited award-winning artists, designers, authors, published art historians, and a Guggenheim fellow. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts with concentrations available Art History and Studio Art, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, a Minor in Art and Art History, and at the graduate level, a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art.  Students develop creative problem-solving skills, a strong work ethic, and an ability to communicate verbally and visually. They are well-prepared through these programs to pursue a range of careers including fine artist, art historian, graphic designer, extended/intermedia artist, photographer, illustrator, gallery director, museum staff member, artisan, arts administrator, and public school teacher.

A year-round program of visiting artists of regional, national and international prominence includes visiting jurors, lectures, collaborations, and exhibitions in Slocumb Galleries on campus, and in ETSU’s satellite art exhibit space, Tipton Gallery, situated in downtown Johnson City. These venues along with The Reece Museum on campus also provide space for students to display their BA, BFA, and MFA exhibitions.   

The Department of Art & Design is also affiliated with the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU, which sponsors an eclectic calendar of visiting artists, curators, art historians, and exhibitions on the ETSU campus each semester. Facilities for Art & Design include comprehensive classrooms and student work spaces for Graphic Design, Fibers, Painting, Extended Media, Printmaking, Ceramics, Drawing, Jewelry & Metals, Sculpture, Analog and Digital Photography, and include two state-of-the-art Mac computer labs, a 3-D printing lab, and a Visual Resources Center with high-end scanners, printers, projectors, computers, drawing tablets, cameras, and other equipment for student and faculty use.

More information can be found at