Alumna’s paintings of iconic Vikings will grace new stadium
Leslie Barlow, UW-Stout BFA graduate, is one of 34 artists chosen for project
November 18, 2015
The new Minnesota
Vikings football stadium in downtown Minneapolis hasn’t opened yet, but a University
of Wisconsin-Stout alumna already has scored a “touchdown” there.
Leslie Barlow, a
2011 graduate, has been commissioned to create six paintings of former star Vikings
players to hang inside U.S. Bank stadium.
The stadium will open
for the 2016 National Football League season and host the 2018 Super Bowl.
Barlow is one of 34
Twin Cities artists chosen to create pieces for the stadium. Nearly 1,100
artists submitted examples of their work to Sports and the Arts, a California
company overseeing the curation of the art collection. The company has curated
art for other high-profile venues, including Yankee Stadium in New York and
Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s 49ers, in San Francisco.
The Vikings stadium artists
were announced in October, with several additional artists expected to be
announced at a later date.
Although she isn’t a
“huge sports fan, I love cheering on my home teams, the Vikings, Twins, Wild,
etc., so when I was asked to create portraits of six iconic Vikings, I was so
excited,” said Barlow, who primarily creates oil paintings. Learn more at her website.
A Minneapolis native,
she even has a childhood memory of meeting one of the former players she will
be painting, Cris Carter, an NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver from the 1990s who
has become an analyst for ESPN. Carter once visited Barlow’s elementary school.
Barlow can’t reveal the
names of the other players she’ll be painting.
Since earning her Bachelor
of Fine Arts at UW-Stout, Barlow has been living in Minneapolis. In addition to
painting, she is a Master of Fine Arts student at the Minneapolis College of
Art and Design and expects to graduate in spring 2016.
“My time at
UW-Stout was such a great experience. I liked the emphasis on foundations in
the program, as that really helped me become confident with working with the
figure,” Barlow said.
Barlow has exhibited
her work throughout the Twin Cities and nationally, winning numerous awards,
including a third place last summer in the Minnesota State Fair Juried
Barlow’s success hasn’t
surprised Tamara Brantmeier, an associate professor and director of the School of Art and Design at
“Leslie was a student who did not
settle for mediocrity – she didn't settle for ‘that's good.’ She seeks what is
just beyond her grasp. She knows there is more to discover in her creative
research,” said Brantmeier, noting that Barlow landed a sought-after internship
at the Soap Factory exhibit space in Minneapolis the summer after she
One focus of Barlow’s work is revealing multiculturalism, “otherness”
and identity through the human figure. Brantmeier sees that focus shining
through in Barlow’s paintings.
“The subject matter of her work has become more
self-reflective and more compelling in its authentic voice. I am proud of her
for investigating her ethnic and cultural self,” Brantmeier said. “She has a rare balance of visionary and implementation
skills. We are so proud of Leslie – she is a force.”
The stadium will
include about 500 pieces of art, including impressionistic landscapes,
abstractions, mosaics and Vikings shields and helmets. Another one of the 34
artists selected is a former Vikings star, Carl Eller.
“This partnership provides another avenue to connect Minnesotans with
the stadium project,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports
Facilities Authority, in a news release. “This is a great opportunity to
showcase Minnesota artists. The selected artists are incredibly talented and
their works will provide another unique feature in U.S. Bank Stadium.”
Top: Leslie Barlow works in her Minneapolis
Middle: Leslie Barlow, a self-portrait
Bottom: Leslie Barlow