OSU football player hosts benefit art show - The Daily Barometer

OSU football player hosts benefit art show - The Daily Barometer

The Daily Barometer
Published: Monday, April 29, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 02:04

Reser Stadium is typically a place where football games are played. Steven Christian spent this past season participating in those games for the Beavers.

On Saturday night, the grad student and Oregon State University safety entered the familiar building for a different reason.

Christian hosted “Artistic Beavers,” an exhibition featuring his own art and the work of other OSU students to raise money for cancer.

Price of admission was $5, and there was a silent auction selling OSU football memorabilia. All proceeds went to the American Cancer Society.

“I’ve done something in regards to the American Cancer Society every year for the past couple years,” said Christian, who is working toward a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies. “I do it because cancer is such a universal thing. I have the opportunities and abilities to draw, and because I’m a student athlete, I have that notoriety. I might as well do something that benefits the community as a whole.”

While cancer impacts millions of people, it has had a major effect on Christian’s life. Christian said he has had close to 20 family members suffer from the disease.

“I know a lot of friends that have family affected by cancer,” Christian said. “I have a lot of family directly affected by cancer, and it’s such a wide-spread, universal disease, so anything I can do to help is good.”

The majority of the work on display was Christian’s, but close to 10 artists had art on display Saturday night. Having the event in Reser Stadium, with the added attraction of OSU head coach Mike Riley speaking, provided a unique showcase for student artists.

“It’s always good to get your artwork out there,” said Shaylynn Allen, a senior in art and a featured artist at the event. “For being his first art show, this is quite a first show.”

Christian planned the event in January but did not know whether or not the event would even happen. Saturday night was the culmination of a four-month effort.

“It’s been overwhelming support,” Christian said. “Just that people are here is amazing to me. I just thought of this when I was laying down and I said, ‘Oh, I’ll have an art show.’ For it to come to fruition four months later, I’m in awe right now.”

Christian transferred to OSU at the beginning of fall term from the University of Hawaii, where he played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience.

Most college athletes struggle to balance school and their respective sport. Christian manages grad school classes as well as football, while maintaining a website featuring artwork, comics and animations all produced by him.

“It’s very cool,” said Malcolm Marable, a junior in new media communications and teammate of Christian’s. “As far as all the stuff [football players] do, we have a lot of stuff going on. If he can find time to do all this artwork and put a show on for a good cause, it’s very cool.”

Riley has said he has never had a player quite like Christian during his tenure as OSU’s head football coach.

“I’m just simply impressed,” Riley said. “He’s got a unique talent that not many of us have but in the middle of being a student, being a student athlete, to put on an event like this, I’m really impressed by it and proud of him.”

While Christian’s coaches and teammates are in awe of his achievements, he does not find his workload to be overwhelming.

“I don’t think about it being too much, because I love doing all of these things,” Christian said. “It’s just like somebody that plays Halo or Call of Duty in their free time. They go to school and play a sport too, so it’s kind of the same thing.”

Christian was granted a sixth year of football eligibility in the winter and will return to the team next season. Regardless of what kind of a year he has on the field, Christian’s biggest contribution came Saturday night.

“He’s special,” Riley said. “He’s got a lot going on that’s very positive. This was a really neat thing.”

Andrew Kilstrom, sports editor
On Twitter @AndrewKilstrom

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