Jul 31, 2017

Champs Sports Invests in Chicago Youth with Little Black Pearl Gallery Instillation

photography by Michael Endregaard

Few cities support their own like that of Chicago. Whether it be Chance the Rapper appearing at local open mics or Juwan Howard putting on youth basketball camps, superstars from the Chi both past and present continue to invest in the future. Though home based in Florida, Champs Sports made sure to adjust to the Midwest climate when opening their new flagship store in the Windy City.

Putting their business in the boom of the culture but also putting their money where their mouth is, Champs led their move to Chi City with a six-figure donation to Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy. Stationed in the Southside of the city, the youth serving academy focuses on the ‘business of art’ by allowing local talents to not only foster, develop and explore their craft but also turn it into a career.

Touring the gallery space with Brandon Breaux — the artist responsible for much of the instillation and also cover art for each Chance the Rapper project — the Chicago raised creative is not lost on the importance of mentorship and the power of art. Such is backed by a student working the event, as he explains the concept behind a LBP produced visual while also sharing his plans to continue his craft as a Saluki at Southern Illinois University. Appropriately, the young man with the pen is wearing “Fine Print” Air Jordan XXX1s. The same notion of business-led mentorship rings true when chatting off the record the next day at the shop. A casual conversation with LBP Music Teacher Don Medina turns to tales of his role in crafting the sound, style and marketing plan in previous years for a then up-and-coming artist who would become Young Jeezy. Simply put, these kids are learning from the greats.

In the days that followed, the Champs Sports gallery space would set stage for local artists such as Saba, Joey Purp and Towkio to perform to a hometown crowd obsessed with arts in the city that Michael Jordan put on the sportswear map. After the show Towkio would reflect on growing up in the Chicago arts community that helped him foster a passion and skill set that’s landed him mentorship from the great Rick Rubin out in California’s Shangri La studio. Still, there’s no place like home and if that home’s Chicago best believe they’re going to take care of their own and keep creating. A visitor in region and perhaps even genre, it looks like Champs Sports has settled in to support.

Check out the special event gallery in the photos below and stop inside the Champs Sports Chicago Flagship on State & Monroe to see local artwork in-store depicting local legends in sports and the arts.

Champs Sports Invests in Chicago Youth with Little Black Pearl Gallery Instillation

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