Celebrates friendship of Central alum Muhammad Ali, artist LeRoy Neiman
Studio Funded by LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation in New York
Built by Good Tidings Foundation
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (June 7, 2018) — The LeRoy Neiman Art Studio was unveiled today at Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky, as a tangible means of celebrating the friendship and legacies of famed American artist, LeRoy Neiman and Central alumnus Muhammad Ali. The studio consists of 826 sq. ft. of classroom space and an adjoining 521 sq. ft. balcony. This state-of-the-art studio was funded by the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation in New York City and was designed and built by Good Tidings construction partners in Burlingame, California. The Muhammad Ali Center, which has a natural tie to both Ali and Neiman, collaborated on the project. Since its inaugural opening in 2005, the Ali Center has housed the LeRoy Neiman Gallery, which features a multitude of colorful paintings and drawings of some of Neiman’s most passionate work in boxing – focusing on long-time subject and close friend Muhammad Ali.
Central High School’s Neiman Studio will be only the eleventh of its kind in the United States. To date, Good Tidings has built Neiman Studios from San Francisco to Harlem, to Phoenix, and the Bay Area.
The realization of Central High School’s Neiman Art Studio has been over a year in the making. Said Tara Zabor, Executive Director of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation, “In 2017, we toured several schools after deciding to bring a LeRoy Neiman Art Studio to Louisville. Central High had the right fit- a nice sized room, a committed art teacher and an incredible Principal. The fact that LeRoy’s dear friend Muhammad Ali was an alumni, sealed the decision for us.”
“Every impression finds an expression,” said Central Principal Raymond Green. “This art room will make a positive impression on our students that will be expressed in many ways for years to come.”
“Access to the arts does more than simply providing our students an outlet for expressing themselves and making connections to their communities – though these are important goals by themselves,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). “It allows them to analyze, improvise and problem-solve, which are critical skills in our complex and ever-changing world.”
“Muhammad Ali was our city’s greatest champion. He loved Louisville, and he loved his alma mater, Central High School, so I know he’d be thrilled about this wonderful gift,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “I’m really appreciative of the Neiman Foundation, the Ali Center and JCPS coming together to help us continue The Champ’s legacy of empowering young people.”
Larry Harper of the Good Tidings Foundation also has a mission to help youth through arts, education, athletics and dreams. Said Harper, “As Founder of the Good Tidings Foundation, I personally act as the Project Manager on the building of all our LeRoy Neiman Art Studios. We work with the grant dollars provided to us by the LeRoy Neiman Foundation to work with our architect and contractors with the selected site. We had the pleasure of working with MBH Architects and the G&M Maintenance to transform this space into a top-notch art studio.”
“Like his good friend Leroy Neiman, Muhammad Ali was also an artist, although he had a style all his own,” said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, “and both men cared deeply about helping the younger generation achieve personal greatness. Consequently, having the opportunity to collaborate on renovating the art studio at Central High was extremely gratifying. Furthermore, this is a wonderful way to reinforce and honor their longtime friendship for years to come.”
This announcement comes as part of the second annual “I Am Ali” festival. Complete details about events and activities during the festival are available at https://alicenter.org/alifestival.
About the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation
The LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation seeks to perpetuate the legacy and philanthropic spirit of LeRoy Neiman, and to advance and share the impact of his life, his ideals and artwork in the US and throughout the world. The Foundation supports organizations that promote the study, improvement and advancement of the arts and provide opportunities for at-risk youth to develop paths to successful futures. www.leroyneimanfoundation.org
About the Good Tidings Foundation
The Good Tidings Foundation, founded in 1995, is a children's charity that looks to equally support ARTS, EDUCATION, ATHLETICS and DREAMS for youth from communities of need in Northern California. Good Tidings creates original projects and works in partnership with professional sports franchises, businesses and agencies throughout the region, leveraging resources in order to increase access to enriching opportunities for deserving youth. We design, fund and build projects that are maintained and programmed in perpetuity by school districts, recreation departments, or city governments. We believe that every child deserves to have the means to achieve his or her dreams regardless of financial status, ethnic background, religion, or region of living. It is the spirit of the holiday season that we were founded upon and that we look to emulate all year long. We build youth Dreams! www.goodtidings.org
About the Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the Six Core Principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit www.alicenter.org.