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2021 SHORTLIST

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US OPEN: BLACK LIVES TO THE FRONT

Entrant Company: USTA

FINALIST

Excellence in Black Storytelling

US Open: Black Lives to the Front

ABOUT THIS ENTRY

We found 18 Black and BIPOC artists to transform front-row seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium. While the world’s greatest tennis players battle it out for the millions watching from home, this art installation got people talking, and thinking about the issues.

How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

From being the first Grand Slam to offer equal prize money to men and women back in 1973, to naming our center court stadium after the boundary-breaking Arthur Ashe, to championing our LGBTQ players and fans, to promoting adaptive tennis programs through grants and scholarships—we believe great things happen when we are all a little more open. The ‘Black Lives to the Front’ Original Art Exhibit is another step forward to use the voice and visibility of a global sporting event to propel a powerful and important movement.

The excellence of the initiative comes through the bold statement of putting this powerful art in stands instead of cardboard cutouts. It comes through the stories of each artist, each piece of art, and each brushstroke. More importantly it comes through by starting conversations around Black Lives Matter in a positive light.

 

Objective: At the USTA and our flagship event, the US Open, we challenge ourselves daily to embody these core values of equity, inclusion and respect. Our commitment to openness has taken on even greater urgency this year with the reigniting of the Black Lives Matter movement. The USTA stands unwaveringly against racism and injustice of any kind and stands in solidarity with our African-American friends and colleagues of color. As a part of our efforts in 2020 we launched a new social impact campaign called ‘Be Open,’ with an emphasis on bringing the Black Lives Matter conversation to the forefront of our event. 

 

Strategy & Execution: While we missed hosting fans at the US Open this year, it also meant we had the opportunity to use the stadium seats for a different and bigger purpose. We commissioned 18 Black and BIPOC artists to create works of art to fill our front-row seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium and shine a light on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Instead of celebrities in our front row seats we had ‘Resilience,’ a piece of art dedicated to Black mothers who are committed to challenging the narrative around motherhood. We also had ‘Break Point’ that reflects the thousands of men and women struggling and fighting for equality and justice, ‘Rising from the Blue’ depicting Black women beginning to gain the confidence, appreciation that they didn’t have before, and 15 other pieces telling their own unique stories.

Our domestic broadcast partner, ESPN, featured the artwork prominently throughout the two weeks of the event, driving fans to USOpen.org and US Open social channels to learn more about the art and the artists’ stories behind the art.

 

Results:

From USA Today, to People Magazine to CBS This Morning, word got around about ‘Black Lives to the Front.’ Much to how it was designed, it was a major talking point in the Be Open campaign resulting in over 20 Million Media Impressions.

The art itself was also a big hit. Giving it life after the Open, each piece was auctioned off, raising over $56,000 to benefit USTA Foundation Rally to Rebuild efforts and charity of each artists’ choice.

PRODUCTION

United States Tennis Association,
dentsu Mcgarrybowen
 
 

CREDITS 

Managing Director, Marketing
USTA
 

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