In a groundbreaking initiative, Allstate has revealed a vibrant ‘soccer coaching mural’ in a Chicago neighborhood, seamlessly blending art with sports education for budding young players. Developed in collaboration with the U.S. Soccer Federation, alongside nonprofits Black Star and Intentional Sports, the mural aims to enhance training opportunities for aspiring youth soccer enthusiasts.
Standing at 25 feet, the interactive mural is an instructional art installation, offering valuable guidance on soccer techniques such as shooting, passing, and proper foot positioning. This innovative project addresses the everyday barriers faced by young players due to limited access to soccer resources, often hindered by high costs.
Inspired by U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) players Crystal Dunn, Naomi Girma, and Lynn Williams, who also provided creative input, the mural was brought to life by the talented Chicago-based artist Dwight White II. Allstate’s commitment to community engagement and sports development shines through in this endeavor, promising to uplift and inspire the next generation of soccer stars.
In conversation with The Source, Dwight White II revealed how the collaboration came about, the creative process behind the mural, and his journey.
The SOURCE: Can you tell us more about your latest mural project with Allstate and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and how did this collaboration come about?
Dwight White II: This collaboration came about with a good relationship and recent works with some of the folks at Intentional Sports. Recent works in the community on the westside of Chicago also helped familiarize Allstate and their partner organizations with my work.
The “Soccer Coaching Mural” is an innovative concept that provides instructional training for aspiring soccer players. What inspired this idea, and how does it work?
The inspiration behind the framework of the concept was initiated by the Allstate team who invited me on as a creative partner. To grab attention and have something that’s more art forward in the community while also engaging with the youth, my recommendation was to turn this into a mural
You’ve worked with U.S. Soccer Federation and nonprofits like Black Star and Intentional Sports to create this dedicated training space. Can you share the impact you hope this mural will have on youth players in Chicago?
My hope is that the space will provide a safe and productive area for youth in the city to learn to play the game of soccer and help breakdown some of the barriers that may be associated with learning the game.
Crystal, Naomi and Lynn all share a love for the game of soccer and the desire to grow and protect the future of the game for the next generation. Their passion to want to provide access to the game in diverse communities (especially among youth girls) really helped inspired the final mural.
What was the creative process like when collaborating with these soccer stars and bringing their vision to life on the mural?
I worked closely with all of the partners to develop the final vision for the mural and the athletes provided perspective on some of the coaching-focused aspects and soccer techniques which help to make it both interactive and visually pleasing.
Your journey from being a former Northwestern Football Player to becoming a professional painter and artist is fascinating. Can you share some of the key moments or experiences that led you to pursue a career in art?
Art offered me the opportunity to express myself and communicate things visually. I think even in sport, I was a visual learner when it came to learning and dissecting plays so that practice and passion for learning carried over in my art career. Injury is something most athletes unfortunately experience at some point in their careers. One of mine ended my career and art was the first thing I fell in love with after the game. I found passion and purpose again through creating and showcasing original works as well as finding new community in the world of art.
You’ve created art pieces around the country. Could you tell us about some of your favorite projects and what they meant to you?
My absolute favorite and most meaningful project was Art Basel Miami (2019). I remember visiting Miami in 2017/2018 and telling myself that one day I would exhibit works there and all my friends and family would experience my love for art and community. The following year, I did just that. I entered into one of the largest shows in Wynwood, partnered with Levis as a featured creator and hosted my first solo show of my art career.
Finally, what’s next for you as an artist, and do you have any upcoming projects or artistic endeavors that we should be on the lookout for?
I just moved into a new studio with one of my best friends and creative business partner, Jaylen Prater. I am excited because it will allow me to work on my next full body of work (a new collection focused on original stories representative of my life) as well as work on special projects that inspire both myself and Jaylen to put out into the world. After 7-8 years of collaboration, it’s exciting to formalize a partnership and build on our creative practices.
The “Soccer Coaching Mural” project seems to blend the worlds of sports and art seamlessly. How do you see the intersection of sports and art impacting communities, and what do you hope this mural project achieves in that regard?
The thing sports and art have in common is passion. Playing and creating with passion helps develop purpose and character for young people. The intersection or learned behaviors I have developed through art and sport is a significant part of the foundation of my young life. I hope these types of projects can serve that same purpose for the next generation.
Collaboration played a significant role in bringing this mural to life. Could you share any memorable moments or challenges you encountered while working with Allstate, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and other partners in this creative endeavor?
Working quickly together to bring something meaningful to life in such a short time period was very challenging, however it was all worth it. The mural-making process itself was executed very quickly –a week total from gathering insights, integrating the coaching wireframe into a mural format, finalizing the design and then painting. I’m sure Black Star and the USWNT’s efforts to connect with the community will continue to go beyond the mural.