COLORADO SPRINGS — A piece of Olympic history will be living and growing at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind (CSDB), in Colorado Springs. The work of a man who made a name for himself as the official artist of the Olympic Games will live on at a new studio that bares his name.
The late Leroy Neiman was the official artist for five Olympic games beginning in 1976. His art is on display at the new Olympic and Paralympic Museum near Downtown Colorado Springs.
“So much of the history is in video and photographs,” said Christopher Liedel, CEO of the Olympic and Paralympic Museum. “How do you not be just a museum of just photos and video? We saw art and when we looked at the collection of artists LeRoy Neiman quickly rose to the top.”
This art is vital in the museum’s effort to incorporate the community, a mission of inclusion, and in that we thought wouldn’t it be great to with the foundation to support aspects sort of emblematic of the Paralympics,” Dr. Benham, Superintendent of CSDB said. “We just needed a venue.”
Down the road from the Olympic Training Facility sits the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, home of past Paralympians so the partnership made sense.
“Really making art come alive for our students, who are deaf, hard of hearing, or low vision, how can you not be inspired by this studio here. So, we’re ecstatic,” Dr. Benham explained.
In coordination with the Leroy Neiman Foundation, the museum designed with the school’s unique population in mind.
“It’s inspiring,” Dr. Benham said. “I can’t wait to see the students’ reaction to this.”
The new studio is outfitted with circular nesting tables to accommodate various communication needs and there’s even a stage for students to display their pieces while using American Sign Language. All of it geared toward nurturing Neiman’s passion for the creation of art in young Coloradan’s of different abilities.
“We’re excited to create something fun, the arts community we’re excited to be a part of it,” U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Education Program Director Tiffany Stahl said.
The plan is to use the facility to bring in athletes to work with the students and even members of the community when possible.
“To see art done by young students with impairments, it brings a lot of awareness and knowledge about what they’re going through and their capabilities,” United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum Education Coordinator Mcqella Adams said.
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum plans to hold an open house for the public at the CSDB in late October.
In the meantime, Neiman’s work can be seen at the museum. You can even purchase artwork with you incorporated in it. Thanks to the “niemenator.” A computer program captures a person making a motion similar to one of Nieman’s paintings.