CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have teamed up with Chicago-based artist Kate Lynn Lewis on a limited-edition collection that blends the history of women in baseball with her contemporary style of portraying female figures as art. As part of the baseball-themed series, Lewis looks to feature women taking the place of male sports figures in an effort to inspire the next generation of women that historical gender barriers should not limit their dreams and pursuits. Fans can purchase items from the limited-edition collection starting Thursday, March 18, while supplies last.
Lewis, who resides in Logan Square but grew up in Florida where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Florida, is known for her large-scale mural installations and illustrative design. Her background in business and math, upbringing in sunny Florida and desire to empower women, are underlying threads woven into her work which is best known for its clean and hard lines, bold use of color and emphasis on both architectural elements and the female form.
The designs featured in the limited-edition collection, which includes a long-sleeve and short-sleeve T-shirt and 18-by-24-inch poster, reflect Lewis’ desire to celebrate women and their exceptional ability to stand out in male-dominated roles and be seen as equals.
“I wanted these designs to be about women and by women,” said Lewis when asked to describe her designs for the collection. “I didn’t want to mask our femininity or our defining features; what allows us to ‘peacock’ and stand out within our species to make statements. There’s exceptional beauty in our ability to stand out. I don’t wear baggy clothes and deepen my voice to fit in. I want men to know I’m here and that I’m a woman and that we are equals.”
The long-sleeve T-shirt, which comes in red and white, depicts women in various on-field roles and evokes the energy and confidence Lewis felt after viewing photographs of female ballplayers in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The short-sleeve T-shirt, which comes in blue and black, features the artist’s take on older versions of baseball cards and scorecards where women, not men, are front and center, and the vibrant 18-by-24-inch poster depicts a diverse group of female ballplayers in front of the iconic Wrigley Field Marquee.
“I feel like men, at least while playing baseball, are the stars of the show,” said Lewis in a video on the collection. “I wanted to take those images when we think of baseball and sub them out with a different gender. Everyone said it’s very ‘A League of Their Own’ and it made me think, well, that’s simply because there’s not enough imagery for there to be any other references.”
This limited-edition collection is the second in a series of collaborations the Cubs will launch this year, created in an effort to raise up these important voices in the community, champion the city’s talented artists and celebrate Chicago’s vibrant culture. The first collection was launched in February with Hyde Park native Nikko Washington in celebration of Black History Month.
“As a woman in baseball, I’m proud to stand alongside other women who are pushing boundaries and challenging convention,” said Cubs Vice President of Marketing Lauren Fritts. “Kate’s vibrant and proudly feminine designs for this collection are the perfect complement to her past artistic endeavors meant to embolden women.”
Proceeds from the limited-edition collection will benefit Girls in the Game, a local nonprofit that empowers girls to find their voice and lead with confidence through sports, health and leadership programs.
Fans can purchase the “Forever Yours” long-sleeve T-shirt for $49.99, the “Batting Lashes” short-sleeve T-shirt for $39.99 and the “Girls in the Game” 18-by-24-inch poster for $100 (plus applicable taxes and fees) starting Thursday, March 18, at 9 a.m. CDT, at www.cubs.com/katelynnlewis while supplies last.