Arts & Entertainment

Two Sports Illustrators Featured in Seton Hall Exhibit 'Play Ball'

A student looks at an exhibit featuring the work of two sports illustrators at the Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University. Credits: Ethan Arnowitz
The exhibit "Play Ball!" will run through Dec. 7 at Seton Hall University's Walsh Gallery. Credits: Ethan Arnowitz

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- The Seton Hall University Walsh Gallery’s “Play Ball!” exhibit, which features original artwork from Seton Hall professor Anthony Capparelli and sports artist James Fiorentino, opened recently on campus.

 “Play Ball!,” which highlights 100 years of Seton Hall baseball, as well as professional players from the New York/ New Jersey area, opened Oct. 23 and will run through Dec. 7.

The exhibit also features student history objects from Seton Hall University’s Athletic Department and the Department of Archives and Special Collections, as well as cultural objects from the sports collection of Ed Lucas.

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Capparelli, who teaches art classes at Seton Hall and the Fashion Institute of Technology, got involved with the exhibit when he was approached by Jeanne Brasile, who is the Walsh Gallery director, he said.

While Capparelli teaches all types of art classes, he has been doing sports illustrations for years, and Brasile knew that, he said.

 “I loved sports as a kid, growing up in the Bronx,” Capparelli said. “We would walk past Yankee Stadium, and it would go from urban buildings to wide-open space that people played at. The Yankees were big in the Bronx when I was a kid.”

Many of the pieces featured in the exhibit are of current and former Yankees, such as Derek Jeter, C.C. Sabathia and Don Mattingly.

Capparelli, who has illustrated the player presentations for the NJ Devils, is interested in all sports, but said that Mattingly is one of his favorite players and enjoys illustrating him.

While Capparelli and Fiorentino are both professionally trained illustrators and both paint sports illustrations, the styles of the two artists do vary.

Capparelli practices a slightly more abstract style, which is more interpretive and splashy and tends to be more all over the map, he said.

 “Part of teaching is doing it yourself,” said Capparelli. “I like to experiment, I get bored easily.”

Fiorentino is a sports artist who practices a self-crafted watercolor technique, and he has had his artwork featured in multiple sports institutions, including the National Baseball Hall of Fame, according to a university news release.

The exhibit is a fundraiser for the Ed and Allison Lucas Foundation, which was co-founded by Ed Lucas and is a foundation that supports Seton Hall students with disabilities, Capparelli said.

Lucas has been blind for the past 55 years, and was one of the first blind students in the country to graduate from college with a degree in communication when he did so in 1962. After graduating, Lucas became a reporter and broadcaster for sports in the New York area and has had a successful career.  

“It was a great opening, it a really nice turnout, we had students there,” said Capparelli of the reception. “It was a privilege to be a part of the event and help with fundraising on behalf of the fund.”

Artworks by both artists are available for purchase by visitors.

The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

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