Virtual art show backs Negro Leagues Museum

October 4th, 2020

Tad Richardson, a social impact marketing consultant, wants to challenge people to think beyond modern baseball and specifically about the history that brought baseball to where it is today.

In conjunction with the Centennial Celebration of the Negro Leagues, Richardson and his partner, content production expert Travis Stewart, have coordinated a virtual art show to raise money and awareness for both the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and participating artists.

“We’re just asking people to dig a little bit deeper and really understand that there were men that should have been heroes, but let’s talk about why that league existed,” Richardson said. “Let’s talk about all the hardships that those men dealt with.

“The gravity of that has just settled to where we’re at today, and it's awesome to not only say that we’re using baseball as a grounds for difficult conversation, but to start having them within our own community.”

The virtual art show opened Sunday and continues through Saturday,with all proceeds going to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City. Artists from across the globe have created original pieces of art and fan gear to be sold and auctioned off as part of the campaign. The gallery of artwork available for purchase can be viewed at and on the individual artist websites.

Approximately 100 artists are participating in the program; two of the more well-known artists include Bill Cormalis Jr. (@modernbaseballart on Instagram) and Peter Chen (Jumbotron Art).

“The call that we want people to do during the course of this week is go to this website, find art that speaks to you, buy art and support artists,” Stewart said. “At the same time, the hashtag of #NLBMArt, use that hashtag liberally and engage in it, repost artwork from it.”

Richardson and Stewart, who met through Richardson’s baseball memorabilia company, Curveball Keepsakes, are both self-proclaimed “baseball nerds.” Stewart is a partner at Johnnie Studio, which developed the web site. The idea for this project came from a desire to teach others about the Negro Leagues.

Richardson also sees this event as both a small-business venture and a way to give a voice to the community during a time of social change across the country.

“It’s really settled on us in the last few weeks that this [is a] moment in time to use the story of the Negro Leagues to make a point about what’s happening in today’s climate,” Richardson said. “It’s really what I feel has become our responsibility to really meet the moment in the right way.” 

The two of them, along with a diverse community of artists, have met the moment head-on. 

“If we go back in time two years, and maybe Tad and I find each other then, would we still be doing this? There’s a good chance,” Stewart explained. “But the serendipitous element of the moment of these two lining up feels a lot like fate. I’m a believer in that.”

“Moments like this are not common,” he added. “We have to make them count. We have an ability to have an impactful voice and know how to use that voice. When you have ability, you have responsibility. This is part of our responsibility as members of society that needs to change to help drive that.”