When it comes to art in hockey, most people would think of the elaborately painted helmets of goaltenders.
But in an effort to celebrate Youth Art Month, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art and the Johnstown Tomahawks have partnered to draw attention to the arts in education.
“The Art of Hockey” will take place at 7:30 p.m. March 7 during the Tomahawks’ game against the Janesville Jets at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St. in downtown Johnstown.
The event will include an exhibition of hockey-related art created by students in three local schools, with all fans in attendance having an opportunity to vote for their favorite piece. The winning school receives up to $500 for its art program.
“The Tomahawks approached us to see if we would be interested and we jumped at the chance to bring the world of art to an audience we usually don’t see,” said Jessica Campbell, SAMA’s education coordinator.
“It is an opportunity for us to share our mission with a new audience while also highlighting the importance of the arts in education.”
Campbell promises patrons a great night of family fun.
“It’s a win all the way around as people can support their local team, their local arts organizations and local school districts,” she said.
In preparation of “The Art of Hockey,” art students in Forest Hills, Richland and Windber school districts are creating hockey-themed art projects throughout February.
Each school may enter up to three projects for voting, though instructors may select up to 15 additional projects per school for exhibition at the game.
In addition to the winning school’s $500 prize, the student or group of students receiving the most votes also will receive a Tomahawks’ prize pack.
Campbell said there will be a ballot in each program for people to indicate their favorite piece.
“We will have collection boxes at each table in the concourse, where the art will be displayed,” Campbell said.
During the game, museum staffers will man a 50/50 table and promote sales throughout the concourse and seating areas, with proceeds benefitting SAMA’s arts education programs.
Two of SAMA’s directory artists, Tom McCarty and Martha Murphy, also have donated original works of Tomahawks-related art, which will be raffled off at the game.
Both artists also will be in attendance and will work on art projects at the game.
To help promote the exhibit, Tomahawks’ players visited Forest Hills Elementary School on Feb. 12 and participated in art classes.
Elementary teacher Kathleen Krestar was delighted as players and students worked together to create several clay sculptures.
“The players sat in with my fifth-grade class and got their hands dirty,” Krestar said.
“They were creating coils (clay strands) that were added to some clay-built works.”
The pieces will be glazed, painted and displayed at the hockey game.
Krestar said girls as well as boys were excited to meet the three players who came to the class.
“Prior to the visit, we discussed how art relates to sports, including designs of logos, uniforms and posters,” Krestar said.
“The students came up with the concept and implemented it themselves.”
Chad Mearns, Tomahawks director of marketing and communications, said the goal of the promotion is to make it a fun experience for the students and fans.
“One of our goals as an organization is not only to produce a winning team on the ice, but to support our community in any way we can,” Mearns sad.
“Working with SAMA is a great way for us to add something new to the Tomahawks’ experience.”
Several school and individual sponsors have come forward to support the event, but Campbell is seeking an event sponsor.
“For the $650 event sponsor level, the donor receives a 16-person luxury suite for the game, event naming rights and name and logo on all media promotions,” Campbell said.
For more information on sponsoring “The Art of Hockey,” call SAMA at 472-3920.
For individual tickets to the game, call the Tomahawks’ office at 536-4625.
Tom Lavis covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.
What: “The Art of Hockey.”
Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown.
When: 7:30 p.m. March 7.
Cost: $9 to $15 for adults and $6 and $8 for children.