Art for Athletes returns |

Art for Athletes returns

When the National Sports Foundation (NSF) decided to create a new fundraiser last year, they decided to go with the logical choice. Combining Park City’s love for art and athletes, they put together Art for Athletes, an opportunity for Parkites to partake of some of the area’s most distinguished artists, while benefiting the Nordic skiers of the NSF.

Actually, the model for the event came from NSF board members, Jack and Jan Massimino, who were part of a similar event in Laguna Beach, Calif. Last year’s event was so successful that the NSF, which fosters the development of ski jumpers, Nordic combined and elite Nordic skiers, will once again stage the event on Friday, July 28 at the Park Meadows Country Club.

According to board member Christine Rhoads, Art for Athletes is an ideal community cause, because it is affordable and allows people to learn more about local artists and the faces behind the NSF.

Tickets are reasonably priced at $50 per person, which includes an "opportunity" ticket," which immediately enters all guests into a drawing for multiple pieces of art, two drink tickets and hors d’oeuvres.

"It’s a great chance to come in and walk away with a great piece of art at a reasonable price," said Rhoads.

There will also be plenty of time throughout the evening to interact with both artists and people involved with the NSF. Many of the athletes, coaches, staff and board members will be on hand and willing to discuss the mission and goals of the NSF. Newly named U.S. Ski Team men’s ski jumping coach and youth coach for the NSF, Mike Keuler, will act as Master of Ceremonies.

Over 100 artists from Park City, Salt Lake and other surrounding areas have once again agreed to donate pieces to the fundraiser. The featured art will include framed pictures, jewelry, and sculpture and multimedia pieces. Some of the artists will include Susan Swartz, Bruce Larrabee, Judy Taylor, Bambi Knight, Paul Jakubowski, Tommy Knockers and David Whitten.

Most of the artwork will be available through silent and live auction, where many of the young athletes will help to display and distribute the pieces.

Rhoads says that the money raised will go directly into the operating budget for the NSF. Athletes fees cover some of the costs to keep the NSF up and running, but fundraisers such as Art for Athletes help fund the remainder, which include coaches’ salaries, park usage fees and other needs. NSF is one of the largest clubs in the country, with the best facilities. Athletes worldwide come to train on the hills and the U.S. Ski Team recently selected the NSF as the club that they will work with for the training and coaching of their jumpers.

"Our facility is the best in the country. No one can compare," Rhoads said. "The athletes really excel when they come here."

Rhoads has three children in the NSF programs and says that they are all hooked.

"I think it’s the thrill and speed of jumping," Rhoads said.

As a parent, Rhoads likes the supportive atmosphere of the club. Although it fosters competitive sports, she says the camaraderie at the NSF is unmatched.

"What impressed us about the NSF is there is a real family atmosphere in the club that you don’t get in a lot of clubs," Rhoads said.

Besides receiving support from local artists, Ellis said that the NSF has received generous support from Wiggy and Tom Brennan of US Bank, Mike and Priscilla Watts, the Massiminos, Peak Art and Frame, the Park Meadows Country Club and numerous private donations.

Barbara Jerome, mother of ski jumper Jessica Jerome, who is ranked as one of the top jumpers in the world, once again created the cover art for event marketing pieces.

There are still tickets available, which may be purchased by calling 645-7660 ext.104. The cost for the event is $50 per couple, which includes two drinks, hors d’ oeuvres and an opportunity ticket to win a piece of art. Winners must be present. Additional opportunity tickets may be purchased for $50 each. Art for Athletes will start at 6 p.m. and dress is "Park City casual."

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