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TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Drillers, in conjunction with the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, announced plans today to add a 26 ft. by 40 ft. mural beyond the left-field concourse at ONEOK Field that will feature Jackie Robinson. The full-color mural will pay tribute to Robinson, the former Brooklyn Dodgers great who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947.
The Robinson artwork will be located just steps from the Osage Casino Greenwood Entrance at the northeast corner of ONEOK Field and painted directly onto the brick wall of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce West Building facing into the stadium.
It is the Drillers’ goal to increase traffic through the Greenwood District on game days, as well as when the team is on the road, while also beautifying the space. The mural will be visible throughout ONEOK Field, and will have public access for visitors year-round.
“We are very proud and honored to be able to say that Drillers Baseball and ONEOK Field are located in the Historic Greenwood District,” said Drillers General Manager Mike Melega. “We have always looked for ways to increase our association with the Greenwood Chamber, and we thought a tribute to Mr. Robinson would be a great addition. He did so much for our country and the game of baseball, and with us being an affiliate of the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, it made for a perfect fit.”
Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President Freeman Culver hopes the project will bring wide exposure. “It is important to continue to honor the memories of Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, and others that paved the way for the United States to distance itself from its dark past of racial segregation,” said Culver. “What better place to house the Jackie Robinson mural than the back of the Neeley and Vaden Building also called the Greenwood Chamber – West Building. There are people who live in Tulsa today who have no idea or knowledge of the historical significance of the 100 N. Block of Greenwood Avenue.”
“This mural will expose the Greenwood District to residents and businesses who do not know much about Deep Greenwood. We are excited to partner with the Tulsa Drillers on this endeavor,” added Culver.
Tulsa-born, African American artist Chris “Sker” Rogers and Denver-based artist Thomas “Detour” Evans will collaborate on the project. Both artists come with high credentials.
Sker has been commissioned for professional graffiti artwork by numerous companies, private clients and organizations. He was the project manager for the Black Wall Street in Greenwood Tulsa, and he created the “Welcome to Greenwood” mural. He has also done work for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Guthrie Green, Booker T. Washington High School and the American Idol TV show.
“I’m humbled to do the work that I do, and I’m privileged to play my part in Tulsa’s creative scene,” said Sker. “I want to thank the Drillers organization and the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce for their vision in creating this project. I’m excited to partner with such a talented artist as Detour, working together to create a dynamic new mural for all of Tulsa to enjoy.”
Detour specializes in large-scale public art, portraiture, immersive spaces and creative directing while mixing traditional mediums with new approaches. He previously created the “Tulsa Sound” downtown mural.
The Robinson mural is planned to be completed in time for the start of the Drillers 2021 season and joins other projects being completed in Greenwood this year, including the Greenwood Rising historical center and the Pathway to Hope in this 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
“This painting is our way of celebrating Jackie Robinson and the Historic Greenwood District, and we feel it will become an iconic part of the district and the ballpark,” said Melega. “We hope that it will increase traffic in the area while also becoming an often-used entrance and exit to and from the stadium. With the addition, we will now offer most giveaway items at the Osage Casino Hotel Greenwood Entrance.”
The final design for the mural will released in the coming weeks.