The Lakeland Magic, the NBA G League affiliate of the Orlando Magic will be tipping-off against the Grand Rapids Drive, the NBA G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons on March 14, 2020. Before the game, basketball fans and art aficionados can enjoy an art show that has been nearly a year in the works.
The event was the idea of Ticket Sales Associate for the Lakeland Magic, Weston Riddle. “I’m very passionate about sports as well as the arts,” said Weston. He grew up painting with his grandmother when he got out of school and on days off. This time spent with his grandmother spurred his interest in the arts which continues today.
Riddle began working with the Magic last season. Towards the end of last season, he got an idea, “What if we did something that combined two of my passions – art and basketball – and made one huge evening out of it?”
He knew there must be others like him that enjoy Lakeland’s rich arts community who are also fans of a good basketball game. With an arts-appreciative team behind him and the help of Art Crawl Founder/President Ellen Chastain, the ball got rolling on Art Night.
The Lakeland Magic announced this art night theme at a preview event back in June where they announced plans for a mural and jersey design contest as well.
The ‘LKLD’ mural designed by the Lakeland Magic and completed by local artist, Gillian Fazio, was unveiled last September at the RP Funding Center as part of the project mixing the arts and basketball. The mural “is inspired by community pride serving as a destination for both locals and those visiting our city,” reads an article released by the Lakeland Magic. “We thought it would be a great idea to make our stamp, show that we are very passionate about the arts, and have a nice little beacon for the arena here,” said Riddle.
A jersey design contest was launched inviting local artists to design uniforms that were to be worn by Lakeland Magic players. The three contest finalists were Josh “Bump” Galletta, Daniel Dalhoff, and Alex Kirsch. Daniel Dalhoff ultimately won the contest. In partnership with the City of Lakeland, proceeds from the auctioned jerseys will be used to feed and take care of the swans on Lake Morton.
Riddle met Ellen and Chad Chastain at a Haus Mrkt. “They both love basketball […] and are definitely passionate about the arts, so it was a perfect partnership,” said Riddle. “We are working in partnership with Ellen and talking to some of the schools to showcase student work at Art Night,” he said.
On March 14, the doors will open early, at 5 pm. Arts will be the focus of the evening until tip-off as well as throughout the game as attendees wish to walk around the arena. Riddle, Chastain, and the Lakeland Magic team are still in the process of solidifying artists, but Riddle estimates they will have 14 professional artists as well as student artists from some of the area schools. Artwork will be available for purchase throughout the evening.
Riddle said, “I’m most looking forward to seeing not only the fans who are passionate about the arts learn more about the local art scene here in Lakeland and Polk County, but [also] the fan who loves sports, […] see different works and think ‘I need to buy this piece or go to the next art festival or the next Art Crawl.’”
He says the Lakeland Magic are invested in the arts and hope to continue hosting events that incorporate art and basketball.
Tickets to the game are required for entrance to the art show with tickets starting at $10. Tickets can be purchased at lakeland.gleague.nba.com/tickets/ or by calling 863-825-3258.
Art Night with the Lakeland Magic
When: Saturday, March 14, 2020
Where: RP Funding Center
701 W Lime St, Lakeland, FL