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Secret Walls Hosts D.C. Art Exhibition to Celebrate MLS All-Star Week

With Major League Soccer All-Star Week in D.C., events highlighting the most engaging aspects of the sport are slated to take place around the area. On July 16, MLS hosted an art battle.

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Art Battle at Apple Carnegie Library. (Branson Brooks/The Hilltop)

Flashes of immersive art on the screen proved enticing as an audience began to pour into the library. Cutting-edge technology met old school presentation through the fresh outdoor feeling produced by wooden box chairs and trees.

With Major League Soccer (MLS) All-Star Week in D.C., events highlighting the most engaging aspects of the sport are slated to take place around the area. To help kick things off, on July 16 at the Apple Carnegie Library, MLS, in partnership with Secret Walls, hosted an art battle that featured popular D.C. graphic artists Kelly Towes and Matt Corrado.

The event highlighted digital art and helped promote MLS’ new streaming deal with Apple. Inking the deal made MLS one of the many services that have joined in on sports streaming.

There was a sizable crowd in attendance for the art battle,including local artists, soccer fanatics and Apple customers. Kazz Laidlaw, an artist manager in D.C., talked about his love for art and curiosity driving him to want to see the event. 

“I’m actually here for MLS week and I have artists that participated with MLS. I am an avid art collector and just an art enthusiast. So when (I was told) about the event, I thought this could be really cool to go to. Plus, I’ve never been to an event at Carnegie Library yet, so I wanted to come try,” Laidlaw said.

The artists were allocated around 30 minutes to create their soccer-inspired pieces using an iPad while the crowd sat and watched. Rather than the quiet, tense environment one might expect in a library, people were walking around, conversing and interacting with the artists during the battle. The skill and diligence of these artists was highlighted as they were able to work so diligently with the short amount of time they had.

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Kelly Towes (gray shirt) pictured interacting with the audience during the art battle. (Branson Brooks/The Hilltop)

Once the artists ran out of time, their unique styles popped off the screen. Towes with his anime-inspired outer space look, and Corrado with his design with wavy lines and flows throughout an explosive piece. Corrado shared that his long-time love for skateboarding helped him continue to push boundaries in his art.

“With skating there is just a lot that is parallel to being an artist,” Corrado said. “Like the way you can kind of push the boundaries and have your own style and be creative, you do it with your friends, but it’s also kind of uniquely your own thing too.” 

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Jake Zivin and Max Bretos, guest judges from MLS Season Pass, would help determine a winner. After the two of them came to a split decision, it was left up to the crowd to crown a champion, and following a large uproar for Corrado’s painting, he would be crowned victorious.

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Matt Corrado (left) and Kelly Towes (right) speak after the conclusion of the art battle. (Branson Brooks/The Hilltop)

After a winner was announced, a Q&A with the artists and judges commenced. While the artists were asked questions, Zivin and Bretos received crowd thoughts on MLS’ partnership with Apple. The turnout of this event crystallized why sports streaming partnerships are so highly sought after for the future. 

Zivin emphasized how exciting of a time it is for MLS to be able to spearhead the broadcasting of international sports through streaming.

“It’s such an exciting time, right? For MLS and soccer fans around the world to be able to know that you can watch MLS games in one place pretty much no matter where you’re on the globe,” Zivin said. “That’s how the MLS season pass changed the game.” 

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Matt Corrado ( left) and Kelly Towes (second to left) take a picture with Max Bretos (right) and Jake Zivin (second to right) after the event. (Branson Brooks/The Hilltop)
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