The art of athletics: two Hawkeye students capture season on canvas

Two of the paintings done by University of Iowa senior Elinor Krieger-Coble.

The Iowa Hawkeye football team is blazing to a January bowl game after a pedestrian start to the season.

Victories over Michigan, Illinois, and Nebraska to close out their regular season catapults Iowa to the Outback Bowl to take on the Florida Gators.

Win or lose, the 2016-17 Hawkeye football season will live on through art, as two senior art majors recreated scenes from Kinnick through painting and drawing.

Elinor Krieger-Coble and Heidi Schickel combined to create a handful of works, all depicting some facet of the 8-4 team's journey.

From a drawing of the statue of Nile Kinnick to an oil painting of the Hawkeye marching band playing a halftime show, both artists say they were excited to "bridge the gap" between art and athletics.

"You don't always think of art and athletics as similar, so my goal was to kind of blend the two," said Schickel. "As someone who isn't necessarily a sports fan, I think the atmosphere and the energy is what inspired me, and I wanted to show that in my work."

For Krieger-Coble, whose brother, Henry, played for the Hawkeyes and is currently a member of the Denver Broncos practice squad, and whose cousin, George Kittle, is currently on the team, this project was deeper than depiction.

"I wanted to show people that [the football players] aren't just things, but they're people," said Krieger-Coble, adding athletes receive little praise when succeeding, but massive scrutiny when failing. "I just want to show these guys they matter."

This is the first year the arts and athletics departments collaborated on this project, but both Schickel and Krieger-Coble say they hope it's not the last.

"Hopefully we did a good enough job so that they continue this next year," said Schickel with a smile.

The art has been featured at the president's holiday party, and will be part of an exhibit at the University of Iowa in mid-January.

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