CHICAGO (Oct. 13, 2021)-- The Only Forward Art Series’ latest edition celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a special piece of art from Cuban-American artist ABSTRK. This third installment of the Art Series commemorates the USA-Costa Rica World Cup Qualifer in Columbus, Ohio, presented by Volkswagen.
The artwork will be featured in a number of activations around Wednesday’s match as the USMNT returns to Columbus, where it has won more World Cup qualifying matches than any other city. Kickoff from the newly opened Lower.com Field is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN+, UniMas and TUDN.
The art series brings the spirit of the “Only Forward” campaign to life, highlighting the young, diverse and global-minded nature of a resilient USMNT as it looks to tackle the challenge of World Cup qualifying.
"This poster created for the USA vs. Costa Rica match was originally hand drawn then re-drawn digitally, celebrating the match as well as Latin culture,” said ABSTRK. “The arch that frames the entire piece was inspired by the facade of iconic Ohio Stadium in Columbus. I included a white rose that represents oneness, inspired by a poem from Jose Marti that states he nurtures a white rose for his true friend and his competitors the same. A labor of love, this represents the camaraderie and respect the teams hold for each other as competitors.”
Fans attending the match in Columbus will have the opportunity to download an NFT of the art, thanks to a collaboration between U.S. Soccer and longtime partner Panini America. Each fan will find a card with a QR code in their cupholder which accesses the opportunity to redeem their Only Forward Art Series NFT asset on the Panini Blockchain platform.
The artwork debuted for purchase exclusively on the NTWRK app this week and is available to stream here via a collaboration with FootyCon. Fans can purchase the art as a poster or as a limited edition set of Spanish coaster tiles.
ABSTRK is a Miami-based Cuban-American street artist who creates murals and graffiti work as well as digital illustration and product design. A passionate soccer fan, he has incorporated his work into the game with kit designs and custom equipment, working with Nike Football, Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar and more.
The Only Forward Art Series features installments in all home World Cup qualifying host cities as artists create bespoke pieces of art that showcase the spirit and energy of the U.S. Men’s National Team and serve as a celebration of diversity and inclusion within the sport and the local community. Next up, Mexican-American artist Sentrock’s piece for the USA-Mexico World Cup Qualifier on Nov. 12 in Cincinnati, presented by Allstate.
ABOUT SOCCER VENTURES
Launched in November 2019, For Soccer Ventures (FSV) is a new media company, leading a collaborative movement to connect brands and platforms to the diverse American soccer community through immersive storytelling, properties, activations and strategic services. Uniquely positioned within the industry, the company's mission is to advance soccer in the US, both on and off the field. This is achieved through a host of capabilities and properties aimed at putting the fan and player first. FSV's current properties and investments include Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union, Alianza de Futbol JUGOtv, YSC Academy, YSC Sports, APL Leagues and Tournaments, Best Soccer Show Podcast, Orange Slices Podcast, and the FSV Soccer Influencer Network.
A first of its kind digital experience, FootyCon will focus on uniting the diverse communities of the sport of soccer through art, fashion, and culture. FootyCon will debut on NTWRK as a one-day digital festival on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
ABOUT NTWRKNamed one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and Ad Age’s Hottest Brands, NTWRK is the premier North American livestream shopping platform where “entertainment meets e-commerce” (Forbes). Built on a digitally-innovative model of daily product drops, livestream shopping festivals and exclusive partnerships with world-renowned brands and creators, NTWRK has fostered an organic global community of artists and fans since its launch in 2018. Under the motto “Shopping At The Speed of Culture,” NTWRK provides a curated digital shopping experience and access for Gen-Z and millennial consumers.
The Panini Group, established 60 years ago in Modena, Italy, has subsidiaries throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States. Panini is the world leader in officially licensed collectibles and is the most significant publisher of collectibles in the U.S., with official licenses for NFL, NFLPA, NBA, NBPA, FIFA, Premiere League, U.S. Soccer, UFC, MLBPA, NASCAR, College, Disney, Epic Games and other key properties from many other licensors. Panini is also the exclusive trading card and sticker partner of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.