To help celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ 60th year, the franchise has asked area artists to design retro game day posters to raise money for area charities.
The idea was inspired by other major league franchises such as the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, which sold locally designed posters at each of its 41 regular season home games and into the playoffs.
“The Blazers definitely caught our attention,” says Joe Sargent, the Chiefs' director of brand marketing. “We hadn’t seen it in the NFL and we thought that, having an art collection in our actual stadium, it gave us that license to say, ‘We’ve worked with artists and we’ve brought the Chiefs and art together.’”
Art works have been displayed at Arrowhead Stadium since renovations were completed in 2010.
The team selected eight local artists, one for each regular season game, to design a poster that reflects the team’s history. The Chiefs started out as the Dallas Texans in 1960, and moved to Kansas City in ‘63.
Tad Carpenter designed the first poster, which depicts Arrowhead Stadium as a bowl containing players and items that make up what the Chiefs like to call “The Kingdom,” such as quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Warpaint the horse and a tailgate grill.
Sike Style's poster, sold during the Oct. 6 night game against the Indianapolis Colts, featured former Chiefs running back Priest Holmes.
“He was such an electrifying player on the field and, since we’re talking about 60 years of Chiefs football, it’s great to talk about the right-now with Mahomes,” said the artist, 40, whose real name is Phil Shafer. “But what about Priest Holmes? We all remember how hyped we were watching him play.”
The team is rolling out the name of each artist in the week leading up to the next home game. Richard Raney, chair of the fine arts department at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Lee’s Summit, designed the poster for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
“We’ve worked with all the artists in the broader Kansas City network,” says Sargent. “We identified the ones that we felt would be unique and really representative of what we feel like it is to be a Chiefs fan in Chiefs Kingdom.”
Out of 1,000 printed posters, which are $20 and available only at the stadium, around 700 sold during the first two home games. The team's original plan was for proceeds to go to arts-based local charities, but after the season opener, the organization shifted the proceeds toward the charity featured in each home game's Hunt Family Foundation 50/50 raffle.
Shafer operates a design-based mural company and has previously worked with the Chiefs on other projects such as the Patrick Mahomes mural on the north wall of Westport Ale House in Kansas City. (He has also designed murals for the Royals in Kauffman Stadium.)
“I think it’s really cool that sports, arts and business are coming together,” he says. “There’s enough Chiefs hype to go around for everybody to make a piece of art for it.”
Greg Echlin is a freelance sports reporter for KCUR 89.3.