‘The Nine’ and Other Works: The Art of Desiree Kelly

Title in spray paint style
Dates: 
Saturday, June 18, 2022 to Sunday, August 28, 2022
Location: 
Room: 
Guldner Gallery

Black baseball players once made up a fifth of MLB rosters. That number has dwindled to fewer than 8%. What has changed? Or, what hasn’t changed and might be keeping Black players away from the sport? In the summer of 2021, artist Desiree Kelly joined reporters from The Washington Post in examining the experiences of nine African American baseball players to learn more.

Kelly is a Detroit-based artist known for celebrity portraits that blend a street art style with traditional oil techniques. See her collection The Nine -- portraits of Willie Mays, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Vida Blue, Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr, CC Sabathia, Bruce Maxwell, Tim Anderson, and Ian Moller -- in the Central Library’s Guldner Gallery through August 28. To her original depictions of male players, ranging from Hall of Famers to an 18-year-old prospect, Kelly has added portraits of two of the first female players in the Negro Leagues, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and Toni Stone.