November 6, 2009
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Alum finds success in art and sports
A 1981 fine arts graduate, Malcolm Farley is known internationally for his colorful paintings of sports figures and celebrities.
Metropolitan State College of Denver alumnus and former basketball star Malcolm Farley remembers selling his first water color painting in 4th grade for $125 in a National Scholastic awards competition. At that time, he thought “Wow, I could buy all the baseball cards I want.”
Since that time he has become an internationally acclaimed artist, integrating his love of sports and arts. His work includes portraits of Mohammed Ali, LeBron James, Tiger Woods and the World Champion San Antonio Spurs, to name a few. In addition, he has created images from the Olympics, the Oscars, the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the 2009 World Series.
More than 100 of Farley’s paintings and works on paper will be featured at "Creativity to the mth Degree: Metro State presents Malcolm Farley," Nov. 11-17 at the Denver Pavilions, with 50 percent of the proceeds benefitting Metro State student scholarship funds.
Such events to benefit students are not new for Farley, who is nationally recognized for his philanthropic endeavors, especially those benefitting youth. “My firm belief is that everyone deserves a good shot out of the gate. Give a child all they need up to adulthood. What you do after that is up to you,” says Farley who initiated the idea for the exhibition.
“It’s great when an alumnus calls to say he wants to help his alma mater,” says Cherrelyn Napue, associate vice president for development and alumni relations.
The dollars can mean many things to many people, says Associate Director of the Scholarship Center Michelle LeBoo. “Scholarship dollars allow our students to continue funding their education without great loan debt, dropping out or going half time.”
Giving back is more than dollars, says Farley, a 1981 graduate of the fine arts program. He recently made an appearance at Emily Griffith Opportunity School to hold “paint-gratitude” sessions with at-risk youth. The experience allowed the students to paint what they appreciated in life. ”Everybody has something inside that they are thankful for. It’s the basics, even the fact that I took time to come to spend time with them.”
During the sessions, he says “I try to get them to think and then I get out of the way and let their expressions come through on the canvas. What words couldn’t say, they portrayed. I have to do a follow up with them…They run through my mind, I’m wondering how they are doing.”
Though Farley attended Metro State on a basketball scholarship, he managed to keep both passions alive. “It was tough to balance, but with two talents that drive you, you find the time.”
He’s often quoted saying “paint what you know best.” I missed it (athletics), but thought I could enjoy it until I was 80 and not have to worry about my knees.”
Farley says Metro State has a lot to offer students. “My experience at Metro State was great. The coolest thing that I hear others say is ‘the whole city is your classroom.’ Everything is right there. Pros come in to teach and contribute to student life. I’ve traveled throughout the world and realize how great they were.”
The exhibition will be held as part of the grand re-introduction activities of the Denver Pavilions, located at 500 Sixteenth St., on Level 2, Suite 262 (in the former Wolfgang Puck restaurant). The gallery will be open to the public daily from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Nov. 11-17. The weeklong exhibition also includes a series of public events. For more information or to view a Nov. 4, 2009 9NEWS interview with Farley, visit Malcolm Farley.