Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of the most highly-anticipated sports and entertainment venues in the world with a game-day experience that will be unparalleled, but maybe the most unexpected feature will be the incredible art collection that will be showcased inside and outside the stadium.
To incorporate a world-class art collection in the venue, Mercedes-Benz Stadium partnered with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2015 to professionally commission, curate and install original artwork throughout the stadium. The agreement also includes the professional installation of memorabilia. The Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and SCAD jointly surveyed fans and supporters to determine the types of art and aesthetics that most appealed to them. As a result of that research, the themes of the pieces throughout the stadium will focus on what resonates with fans, conveys positivity and remains uplifting.
Penny McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, said that the community surrounding Mercedes-Benz Stadium, including Atlanta’s Westside, will be impacted by those themes within the art collection. “Art is universal and, like sports, art is a great equalizer. No matter their background, everyone has a valid opinion about what they like, what excites them, what makes them laugh or cry or think about something differently. The art in the stadium, like the stadium itself, will stimulate conversation, passion and fun.”
In February 2016, through outreach to local art galleries, Atlanta media and the Georgia Council for the Arts, SCAD put out a call for local artists to submit portfolios. Over 650 submissions were reviewed, and select artists presented formal proposals for potential commissions. Last week, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and SCAD revealed more about what that comprehensive art collection will include. Fifty-three artists were selected – 30 percent of which are local to Atlanta and surrounding cities – to contribute to the collection and over 100 works of art were commissioned, including two signature sculptures.
The first sculpture, a falcon, constructed by Gábor Miklós Szőke of Budapest, will represent the Atlanta Falcons. The largest free-standing bird statue in the world, the falcon will stand at 41.5 feet tall, with a wingspan of over 64 feet. It will be erected on the main plaza facing the city skyline and be one of the first things people see as they approach Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The second sculpture was designed to represent the other professional sports team that will call Mercedes-Benz Stadium home, MLS’s Atlanta United. It will be a mirror-faceted soccer ball that will sit by the north entrance of the stadium. This statue will stand almost 35 feet tall and fans will be able to see it from the green space that will be developed on the current site of the Georgia Dome.
All of the artists selected for the program are locally and internationally acclaimed and their work will be strategically placed throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium, including concourses, club and suite spaces and corporate offices. The idea was for every fan, supporter and guest who comes to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to have the opportunity to see, experience and enjoy it all.
Expertly curated by SCAD, The Art Collection at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will explore themes including football, soccer, the history and culture of Georgia and the Atlanta community. The Collection will feature work across several mediums, including sculpture, painting and drawing, photography, mixed media and digital art.
As one of the most ambitious art programs in scope and scale for a professional sports stadium, The Collection will add yet another unique feature to the stadium that has never been experienced across any other sports or entertainment venue.
“The art program is one more important way to provide ‘wow’ experiences for our fans,” says McPhee. “Hopefully, they will see a diverse collection of artworks by local and international artists that will offer surprising perspectives about sports, art and community.”