June 21, 2024
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January 27th: Athletes for the Arts to celebrate arts education at Maryland Hall

Author of the book “Art Activism” and former professional football player Aaron Maybin is an Athletes for the Arts participant, a livestreamed event to benefit Maryland Hall on January 27, 2021. Photo Courtesy Aaron Maybin.

Athletes for the Arts brings together athletes, artists and students for an inaugural fundraising event to benefit Maryland Hall, the region’s cultural core based in Annapolis, Maryland. On January 27, 2021, an exciting team will share their stories of artistic and athletic success at a TED talk inspired event livestreamed to audiences worldwide from the Maryland Hall stage. Featured participants include former Navy, Washington Football Team, and New England Patriot Fullback Eric Kettani, former Penn State and Bills/Jets Linebacker Aaron Maybin and six-time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon who will perform throughout the evening. Julie Donaldson, Washington Football Team’s Senior Vice President of Media & Content, will host the evening. The virtual event is open to the public and tickets will be available in January.

“Access to the arts for our youth goes beyond developing a skill. We have seen first-hand, through our arts outreach programs at Maryland Hall, the powerful effect having access to the arts can have in changing the trajectory of a young child’s life. We will share a small fraction of these stories at Athletes for the Arts to inspire continued dedication to connecting youth in our community to artistic experiences,” says Laura Brino, Maryland Hall Outreach Coordinator.

Featuring live performances, inspirational stories, networking and digital engagement, this hybrid live and streaming event will include an online auction of sports memorabilia, original artwork and unique experiences.

Athletes for the Arts is a signature event of the Michael E. Busch Center for the Arts at Maryland Hall, a dedication established in 2019. Busch, the former Speaker of the Maryland House was a Temple running back and advocate of the arts, athletics and Maryland Hall. Inspiration for the event stemmed from the life story of professional athlete and artist Lieutenant Eric Kettani.

Featured Participants:

Eric Kettani

Lieutenant Eric Kettani is an American football fullback who played 5 seasons in the NFL including stints with the New England Patriots and Washington Football Team. He played college football at the United States Naval Academy and was named the MVP for the first win against Notre Dame in 43 years and never lost to Army or Air Force. Eric is a self-taught artist who has always had a great appreciation for the arts. While in the Navy, Eric had the opportunity to visit many different and unique countries throughout the world. The inspiration that Eric draws is derived from his many travels, time spent in the Navy and NFL, as well as his natural creative imagination. In his career, he has sold and donated numerous pieces. Some of his notable clients include Robert Kraft, Owner of the New England Patriots and Country Music Legends Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

Aaron Maybin

Aaron Maybin is an Art-Activist and former professional football player from Baltimore City, Maryland. Selected as the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills as a former All-American defensive end at Penn State University. Aaron went on to play in the NFL for the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals in a 5-year career before making the decision to walk away from football to pursue a career as a professional artist, activist, author, educator and community organizer. In 2009, Aaron established Project Mayhem to provide aid, both personal and economic, to help underprivileged and at risk youth excel beyond their current conditions.

Aaron Maybin is also a featured artist of Art of Activism, open January 8-February 27, 2021 at Maryland Hall.

Nnenna Freelon

Six-time GRAMMY® Award nominee Nnenna Freelon has earned a well-deserved reputation as a compelling and captivating live performer. Well known for her inventive tributes to greats like Lena Horne and Ray Charles (with whom she toured), she is also a celebrated recording artist, actor, theater writer and producer, and all-around inspiration. Freelon has performed everywhere from the White House to the Kennedy Center and the Apollo. Nnenna has always been respected as an artist and for her passion for education. The White House asked Freelon to headline the Asia Pacific Economic Summit for 300 Presidents, Premiers and Heads of State from around the world. Freelon has dedicated herself to educating young people, both musicians and non-musicians, and students of all ages. She toured the United States for four years as the National Spokesperson for Partners in Education.

Hosted by Julie Donaldson

Julie Donaldson is entering her first season as the Washington Football Team’s Senior Vice President of Media & Content. Donaldson oversees the entire broadcast operation along with being a permanent member of the game day radio broadcast, making her the first female regular on-air member of an NFL radio broadcast booth. As a reporter, anchor and host for NBC Sports Washington, Julie has covered nearly every team, athlete and major sports story in the DMV region, as well as across national and international sporting events. Donaldson has also frequently held on-air roles for NBC Sports and NBC Olympics.

Special Guests

With special appearances by Executive Director of the Professional Athletes Foundation at NFLPA and former NFL linebacker Andre Collins, Senior Director of the Washington Football Team Malcolm Blackwell and students who’ve been positively impacted by Maryland Hall’s Outreach work.

Tickets to watch the livestream will open for sale in early January for a $40 donation. All tickets include a yearlong membership to Maryland Hall. Funds raised will support Maryland Hall’s Art for All mission and replace critically needed dollars lost from the cancellation of the non-profit organization’s annual Arts Alive fundraiser and overall reduction in programming due to COVID-19.

Athletes for the Arts sponsors include Katcef Brothers, NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, The Westin Annapolis, Comcast, Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), Manis Canning & Associates and Thibodeau Media Group. Sponsorships are still available and due to COVID-19 restrictions, the in-person event experience is exclusive to sponsors.

The Athletes for the Arts virtual livestream takes place Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 7 pm from Maryland Hall located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, Maryland.

For more information, visit marylandhall.org/athletesforthearts. To become a member of Maryland Hall, visit marylandhall.org/support.


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