There's a new set of eyes watching over TIAA Bank Field!
Jaguars fans sitting near sections 103 and 203 during the first preseason game versus the Philadelphia Eagles were the first to spy some brand-new artwork in the form of a brightly colored cat eye mural, the second in a four-part series sponsored by the Jaguars and Axalta.
Located high above the main concourse near the top of Ramp 1, the mural was created by local artist Nicole "Nico" Holderbaum.
"I wanted to stay true to myself with the design, and fortunately I love painting eyes as well as animals," said Nico. "I took a photo of a palm in my friend's backyard and overlaid it on a pair of Jaguars eyes. It almost looks like the Jaguar is peeking through the palms, but it also has an abstract element to it. I enhanced the colors to make it vibrant and interesting, and I had to add my favorite color, pink!"
The Jaguars and Axalta announced the new partnership in 2018 to add a fresh coat of a paint to TIAA Bank Field in the form of larger-than-life murals around the stadium's main concourse. The first mural made its debut last December in the northwest corner and was designed by local artist Shaun Thurston. All four murals will utilize First Coast artists to draw upon the themes and imagery unique to the region.
Nico has painted more than 100 murals in her career, but this opportunity to paint a mural inside a stadium was a first for her.
"This mural at TIAA Bank Field is definitely one of the most important and exciting murals I've ever done," she said. "I'm so grateful to the Jaguars for supporting me and for supporting Jacksonville artists. To be honest, with many corporate commissions, I don't have the chance to be free or true to myself with my creative expression, but with this project the Jaguars gave me freedom to be myself and express my creativity freely, which is invaluable for an artist."
Nico is well-known around the First Coast for her work in creating an organization called Kids Mural Project through which she works with local youth to design and paint murals all around the city. Seeing the Jaguars' outreach to the community inspired her own team passion.
"I fell in love with the Jaguars when I started working closely with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida and learned how much the Jaguars do for youth in Jacksonville," she said. "I have a big place in my heart for youth and it really means a lot to me when I see individuals and organizations like the Jaguars Foundation and players like Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Lerentee McCray, Calais Campbell, Marcell Dareus, and A.J. Bouye giving back to those in need and working to inspire youth."
The Jaguars are celebrating 25 seasons of play in 2019 and TIAA Bank Field will also celebrate its silver anniversary. The new murals emerging around the main concourse in the coming years will add new color and personality to a stadium erected in the mid-90s. The goal of this partnership is to express the pride and passion of Jaguars fans in a unique, creative presentation.
"Almost every fan visiting TIAA Bank Field on game day takes a step on the main concourse, which circles the entire stadium," said Scott Massey, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the Jaguars. "We're thrilled to have Axalta on board to help us put our best face forward by injecting some color and Jaguars spirit to our facility."
To learn more about Nico and the Kids Mural Project, visit www.kidsmuralproject.com.