The LeRoy Neiman Art Studio at Ali’s Alma Mater—Central High School, Louisville

June 7, 2018

The LeRoy Neiman Foundation, in partnership with the Muhammad Ali Center, is excited to announce the opening of the latest LeRoy Neiman Art Studio at Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

Central High School—alma mater of iconic boxer and activist Muhammad Ali—is a public magnet school dedicated to professional planning and development; the school offers eight primary pre-professional programs, including veterinarian care, law and government, business studies, and pre-med. In addition, Central places an emphasis on cultivating a sense of community and camaraderie, as evinced by a range of student groups and extracurriculars. This dual focus speaks to the institution’s history. Founded after an appeal to the Louisville Board of Education in 1870, Central opened as a scholastic institution, offering college level curriculum to the local black community.

The Neiman Art Studio complements Central’s past and current mission, providing an artistic corollary to this pre-professional focus. Equipped with large communal tables and featuring a spread of Neiman’s own works, the center is a dynamic, social space where students can turn to hone their creativity, or simply express themselves.

In addition, the art center at Central speaks to the longstanding relationship between Neiman and Ali. Unbeknownst to many, the two figures cultivated a near fifty-year friendship, starting with the artist sketching ringside in the 1960s to the boxer squeezing his own sketches out between matches and workouts.

The LeRoy Neiman Art Studio at Central High School will be the first formal philanthropic project between the Neiman Foundation and Ali Center. It is the seventh arts center established through the Foundation in partnership with Good Tidings (a charity, headed by Larry Harper, seeking to develop interests of underprivileged children).