SF Bay Area

Creativity From the Community

Academy of Art University alumni are among the local artists commissioned by the Golden State Warriors to decorate the Chase Center and surrounding Mission Bay area

By Nina Tabios

As the Golden State Warriors’ new arena nears its completion, the organization recently revealed the 33 artists selected to decorate the Chase Center and the surrounding Mission Bay neighborhood, which included Academy of Art University School of Fine Art—Painting alumna Nina Fabunmi (M.F.A. ’14) and School of Advertising B.F.A. alumni Chad Hasegawa and Guillaume Ollivier.

The Warriors have been steadfast in their initiative to embrace the local Bay Area creative community and embed it into Chase Center. Issuing a “Call Out for Artists” last June, the organization invited artists across the region to submit their artwork in order to be considered as one of the chosen commissioned artists. Scheduled to officially open this fall, the Chase Center has also sourced local food vendors for its concessions stand.

Academy Art U News caught up with Fabumni to discuss her initial reaction to being one of the selected artists and what it means to contribute to the Warriors’ new home.

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Academy of Art University School of Fine Art—Painting alumna Nina Fabunmi. Photo courtesy of Nina Fabunmi.

How did the opportunity to contribute to the Chase Center come about?

The opportunity came from a Facebook post that I had been tagged in—you would be surprised at how much information is put on social media! Someone found me suitable and tagged me in it. My initial reaction was like, “Oh wow, is this for real?” I had been following up on the progress work on the new Warriors arena and drive by it almost every morning while taking my children to school. My first son and I had even worked on a school project where he got to build his own Warriors arena, so when I came across the Facebook post, I felt like the universe was leading me towards making a go for it. With no hesitation, I applied.

Do you know what area you will be painting on (inside/outside the Chase Center)? Is there a theme, have you started drawing up ideas or concepts?

I was given a size specification, but I don’t know yet where it’s going to be placed. My theme is the “Warriors fans” and I drew and sketched two ideas initially and I am now developing one of those concepts as an oil painting on the canvas. 

Are you a basketball fan? With the Warriors being a premier NBA franchise and having huge success in the last few years, what does it mean to you to contribute to their new arena?

I am a basketball fan, it’s my favorite sport. I used to play on my university’s basketball team even though I wasn’t exactly the MVP. I have always loved the Warriors and with everything that they stand for, I am super elated to have a piece of me in their new arena. Sometimes as an artist, the hustle could be hard but it is opportunities like this that make it all worth it. The fact that the Warriors could be looking at my work, and every other person who walks into that arena, feels almost surreal.

In addition to commissioning local artists like yourself, Chase Center has also contracted several local food vendors and restaurants to provide the concessions. Why do you think it’s important for the Bay Area’s big corporations to support the local communities?

It is important to Bay Area’s big corporations to support the community because we all need to feel included. By doing this, they give a sense of belonging to us all. Also, they recognize the centripetal forces of attraction in that one business attracts another. I paid attention in my economics classes and that’s what I was taught. The new Warriors arena is a hive that attracts other services—when it thrives, we thrive, businesses thrive, and the community thrives. In this way, we are all able to build each other up and the people feel supported even as we show our continuous support to the Warriors whom we love so much

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