Art of the Olympians (AOTO) is an organization and program of Olympian and Paralympian artists that promotes the Olympic ideals of values, integrity, character, respect, honor, and work ethic through exhibitions and educational programs.It puts on traveling exhibitions, runs workshops, organizes talks at schools, to show and discuss the connection between sport, art, and the Olympics. AOTO previously operated a museum.
AOTO is a program of the non-profit Al Oerter Foundation.
Art of the Olympians was founded in 2006 by American Olympic gold medalist discus thrower and artist Al Oerter, who died in 2007.In 2006, the organization put on a touring exhibition of Art by Olympians. Art of the Olympians put on an exhibition at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. AOTO also held a 2008 exhibition at the Rauschenberg Gallery, Edison College in Fort Myers, Florida.
In January 2010, the organization opened the Art of the Olympians Museum and the Al Oerter Center for Excellence in downtown Fort Myers, Florida.
In February 2010 Art of the Olympians held an exhibition at the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. In 2011, graphic artist and former long jumper Bob Beamon became the CEO of the Art of the Olympians Museum and Gallery.
During the 2012 London summer Olympics AOTO held two international exhibitions in the United Kingdom. The first was held at the University College of London and the second was held in Torbay on the south coast of England.
On July 16, 2013, CEO Bob Beamon released an open letter directed to the museum's board announcing his resignation. On July 17, after 3 and a half years, the Art of the Olympians museum and the Al Oerter Center for Excellence closed its doors.On the AOTO website they posted an announcement: "It's time to reorganize and restructure the foundation. A new direction focused on National and International Exhibitions programs will further the vision of the founder." Cathy Oerter, Al Oerter's widow, is currently the CEO of Art of the Olympians.
In December 2015, Roald Bradstock became the Executive Director of the Al Oerter Foundation (AOF) and Art of the Olympians.And on December 2, Prince Albert ll of Monaco became the Trustee of the Al Oerter Foundation and Art of the Olympians.
In March 2016, Bradstock was interviewed on BBC Radio Two and then CNN International World Sport. He announced that AOTO was marking their ten-year anniversary by launching a global campaign and search for new Olympian and Paralympian artists.
On April 25, 2017, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach appointed Bradstock to the Olympic Culture and Heritage Commission.
On September 12, 2018 The World Olympians Association (WOA) announced the formation of a new WOA Arts Committee called "OLY Arts". Roald Bradstock was appointed the Chair of the new Committee. Fellow AOTO artists Emanuela Pierantozzi and Shane Gould joined Bradstock on the Arts Committee along with WOA President Joël Bouzou, WOA Executive Committee Member Natalie Cook and Olympian artists Pat Burgener (musician) and Takahiro Fujimoto (actor). Diane de Coubertin - granddaughter of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games - and Francis Gabet, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage were the final two other Committee members.
Numerous Olympians and Paralympians have contributed works to the foundation:
The foundation has a board of directors:
Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities, ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.
Robert Beamon is an American former track and field athlete, best known for his world record in the long jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. He broke the existing record by a margin of 55 cm (21 2⁄3 in.) and his world record stood for almost 23 years until it was broken in 1991 by Mike Powell. As of 2020, the jump is still the Olympic record and the second longest wind legal jump in history.
Alfred Oerter Jr. was an American athlete and a four-time Olympic Champion in the discus throw. He was the first athlete to win a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games. Oerter is an inductee of the IAAF Hall of Fame.
Gary Charles Visconti is an American former figure skater. He won the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships twice and captured the bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championships two times. He currently works as a coach.
Kathryn Joan "Kate" Schmidt is an American former world record holder in the javelin throw. A native of California and a graduate of UCLA, she won bronze medals at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. She qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but did not compete due to the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott. She placed fourth at the 1984 Olympic Trials.
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The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation was founded in 1918 by Louis Comfort Tiffany to operate his estate, Laurelton Hall, in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. It was designed to be a summer retreat for artists and craftspeople. In 1946 the estate closed and the foundation changed its purpose from a retreat to the bestowing of grants to artists.
Richard Aldrich "Rink" Babka is a retired American discus thrower. A former world record holder, Babka also won a silver medal in the discus event at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.
Emanuela Pierantozzi is an Italian judoka.
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Anita Lucette DeFrantz is an American Olympic rower, member of the International Olympic Committee, and twice Vice-President of International Rowing Federation (FISA).
Arne Roald Bradstock is an Olympic athlete and an Olympic artist from England who competed in the men's javelin throw event during his career. He twice represented Great Britain at the Summer Olympics: 1984 and 1988. In 1992 he was an alternate for the GB Olympic Team and in 1996 was an alternate for the USA Olympic team. Bradstock competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008 USAT&F Olympic Trials and then, for his 8th and final time at age 50, the 2012 UK Olympic Trials where he came second.
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Prafulla Dahanukar was an Indian painter, a leader in modern Indian art who also helped and influenced many young artists in India.
Santiago "Jimmy" Heriberto Mellado, sometimes known as Jim, Jimmy, or James Mellado, is the President and CEO of Compassion International, a holistic child development organization dedicated to the long-term development of children living in poverty around the world, which is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mellado previously served as President of the Willow Creek Association (WCA) in South Barrington, Illinois, from 1993 to 2013. He also competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics and 1987 Pan American Games as a decathlete. He serves as a trustee for Fuller Theological Seminary and on the board of directors of the Al Oerter Foundation which runs the Art of the Olympians program.
Lynda Blutreich is a three-time USATF champion javelin thrower from the United States.
Amy Pleasant is an American painter living and working in Birmingham, AL.
Dr. Liston (Lin) D. Bochette III, is an American athlete and artist, and an Olympian for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Lucia Medzihradská is a Slovak former alpine skier who competed for Czechoslovakia in the 1988 Winter Olympics, 1992 Winter Olympics, and 1994 Winter Olympics. She studied Theory of Culture and Fine Art and is a photographer, graphic designer and creates artwork using digital and mixed media. She is also an artist with works on display with the Art of the Olympians.
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