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Lanny Barnes: The Olympic Art Project

In this guest post, Lanny Barnes, Artist in Resident at the 2018 Winter Olympics, takes us behind the scenes of the Olympic Art Project. 

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I just got back from the 2018 Winter Olympics as an Artist in Resident with the Olympic Art Project. The Olympic Art Project was a huge success at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and we are looking towards the future to add even more projects and ideas on how to incorporate art and promote art through Olympic Values at the games and beyond.

The Olympic Art project is designed to bridge that gap between art and sport. It is a project for Olympians, by Olympians and with Roald Bradstock’s vision (Olympian, Javelin) and the huge support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Olympians Association (WOA), The Olympic Art Project was conceived for the first time. It marks the first time that the IOC brought in Olympians who are artist to promote art during the games (I was chosen as one of 3 in the world for this project).

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There is always a huge art and cultural aspect to every Olympics especially with the start and finish being so artistic in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Olympics even awarding medals to artist between 1912 and 1948, but we haven’t seen the artist connection to the Olympians for many years.  The IOC is now starting to bring art back in a way that will help promote art through Olympic values and show that connection between Olympians and Artist such as the discipline and focus that are required by both.

2018-Olympic-painting Olympic Art Project

I was part of a 3-person team which included Road Bradstock (Olympian in Javelin for Great Britain also head Artist in Residence) and Jean-Blaise Evequoz (Olympian Fencing for Switzerland). We were located inside the Costal Olympic Village and gave Olympic athletes the opportunity to help us complete 15 painting (one for each sport) that came together at the end to form the Olympic rings (see photo above). Separately they are each a piece of art, but when combined they create a much bigger picture. The idea was formed by head artist in residence Roald Bradstock with help from the IOC and WOA. We set a world record for the most # of Olympians to complete a painting and all of the painting will go to the Olympic museum in Switzerland after the games to be displayed.

Many of the competing athletes taking part are artists, but many are not. Our goal is to give the athletes an outlet outside of their competitions to express themselves through art with their fellow Olympians as well as share the Olympic values of Friendship, Respect, Excellence. No one signed the paintings and the idea behind that is to show that we are all Olympians and working together to be a part of a bigger picture with promoting art in Olympic values. We kept track of the number and names of all the Olympians who took part in this project. The IOC President Bach met with us during the games to discuss further promoting art in the future and he also spent some time painting one of the 15 canvases.

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All 15 paintings put together.

All 15 Painting pieced together to form the final “Olympic Art Project”!

Statistics about this historic and World Record setting painting:

111 Olympians created this painting! 39 Countries participated. IOC President Thomas Bach participated. WOA President Joel Bouzou participated. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco participated. Alexandrea and Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin participated.

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Over all it was an incredible opportunity to promote art through Olympic Values and I hope I have the opportunity to be a part of this historical event again at another Games. Special Thank you to UnderTech Undercover for Supplying my jacket for the #OlympicArt Project, Brazen Sports for the incredible Time Pieces that helped me capture those precious seconds, Lowa for the footwear that helped keep my feet warm during the long days painting outside, and to Smith for the great shades that helped add even more color to the project!

 

Check out my artwork and read more about the Olympic Art project on my website at www.theolympianartist.com.

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