Although John Hughes movies might have us think otherwise, who says artists and jocks have to be separate cliques? After all, many famous artists throughout history have pursued sporty activities – and many have depicted and drawn inspiration from sports in numerous ways. From the Grecian urns that reveal images of the first Olympics to Edgar Degas’ prolific work documenting the French ballet, from Henry Raeburn’s famous painting of a skating Reverend to Umberto Boccioni’s Futurist version of soccer players, the art of sport has been celebrated throughout art history. Six contemporary Minnesota artists are now adding to this tradition – inspired by sports to create and support their artistic practice.

Thakâpsičapi: Dyani White Hawk


“Prayer, cultural continuity, values and health” are what draws artist Dyani White Hawk to Thakâpsičapi, the indigenous form of lacrosse. She explains that the sport is “what centers me and helps me get through what it means to be a working artist”.

Tennis: Andrea Jenkins and Wing Young Huie


Watch writer, performance artist, poet and transgender activist Andrea Jenkins play tennis with photographer Wing Young Huie in this segment.

Figure Skating: Brownbody


What happens when you combine modern dance, theater, social justice and figure skating? You get arts repertory company Brownbody. See how founder Deneane Richburg leverages her skills as a figure skater to create an unexpected art form grounded in African diasporic perspectives.

Sports Photography: Carlos Gonzalez


Ever wonder what it would be like to capture iconic moments in sports history? Carlos Gonzalez has done just that with a career as a staff photographer for the Star Tribune.  “You just never know what is going to happen,” Gonzalez says of sports photography. But you need to “be ready for it when it does”.

Table Tennis: Peter Haakon Thompson


Peter Haakon Thompson uses participation, interaction, conversation and table tennis to engage audiences.

Skateboarding: Mark Rivard 


Mark Rivard used his passion for skateboarding to inspire youth through his own educational initiative. Using blank skateboards and markers, Rivard motivates students to express their creativity and focus on things they are passionate about.


Want more sports stories in your life? Check out SportsTalk, our collection of stories inspired by even the vaguest of athletic pursuits.

Yes, it’s true: Baseball and opera are like ice cream and apple pie. Find out why in this clip from Almanac.

Photographer Layne Kennedy began his career in the fine art world – but then the great big, fascinating world of editorial assignments beckoned, and he jumped. Discover the stories behind some of his favorite photographs.