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Work of celebrated artist, former NFL star Jim Ridlon on exhibit at Morrisville State Butcher Library Gallery

MORRISVILLE, NY—The work of renowned sports sculptor and painter, Jim Ridlon, former NFL star and Syracuse football standout, coach and announcer, is on exhibit at Morrisville State.

The display of nine abstract collage paintings will be available for public viewing until Sept. 3 in the Donald Butcher Library Gallery. Summer viewing hours for the gallery are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
The public is also invited to a reception for Ridlon on Aug. 28, from 3:30-5 p.m., in the gallery.

“Jim’s work shows viewers that you can have many different talents and explore them and be successful in a variety of ways,” Tim Gerken, associate professor of humanities, said.

On the field, Ridlon led a decorated career as a football player, receiving a scholarship to play at Syracuse University, where he was a defensive end and halfback from 1954-1957. During that time, he received numerous accolades including the Pat Miller Award for Outstanding Athlete-Citizen-Student and the Joe Alexander Award for Excellence.

His NFL career began when he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 1957 NFL Draft, where he played for six seasons. He was later traded to the Dallas Cowboys, where he played for two years. In 1964, he was named All-Pro defensive back.

After he retired from football, Ridlon went back to Syracuse University to complete his graduate studies in fine art. He also coached the university’s defensive backs and later became a full-time professor at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse teaching painting, figure drawing, sculpture and design, until he retired in 2000.

During that time he also worked as the color commentator for Syracuse home football games on the New York State Radio Network.

Known as one of the country’s top sports sculptors, Ridlon’s major pieces include creating the Outland Trophy, ABC’s Wide World of Sports 25th Anniversary Collage, Syracuse University’s 100th Football Anniversary Collage, the Baseball Writers Association of America Scholar-Athletes Awards and the 35th Anniversary Disneyland Assemblage.

His work has earned him more than 20 prizes and awards and is displayed in more than 200 permanent collections including the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute in Utica, the State Legislature Building in Albany, and at Binghamton University.

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit to experience, Morrisville in motion.

Jim Ridlon career highlights:
1956: Received the Joe Alexander Award for Excellence in Football, Scholarship and Citizenship
1957: Received the Pat Miller Award for Outstanding Athlete-Citizen-Student
1957-1964: Played with San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, named All-Pro defensive back in 1964.
1976: Named Football’s Man of the Year in the Arts
1983: Named a Letter Winner of Distinction at SU
1987: Honored as the College Educator of the Year by CBS and ESPN
1989: Received Sport Artist of the Year Award from the American Sport Art Museum and Archives
1997: Received the Outstanding Faculty Award from SU’s School of Art and Design; Received an honorary degree from Cazenovia College