CLEVELAND — To put it in simple terms, the old Quicken Loans Arena was like a cinder block dorm room with Fathead decals on the wall to give life to the cold spaces. As the transformed Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse prepares to greet its first visitors this Saturday, the "posters as art" have been replaced by the real deal.
"We were able to connect with 22 artists that are a combination of local, national and even globally recognized artists and we were able to bring them here to Cleveland to create pieces especially for our venue," said Cavaliers Chief Marketing Officer Tracy Marek.
"I think back to all of those months, even years ago when basically we were looking at the blank slate that was the old Quicken Loans Arena and we were given this amazing opportunity to bring it to life to have it reflect Cleveland, have it reflect our organization and to be really just a very significant point of pride."
There are more than a hundred pieces in the new collection including a 20-foot-tall sculpture by internationally renowned artist KAWS.
"I think when people walk into the building they will absolutely take notice of our KAWS statue, which is located right here in this amazing atrium and I think it will definitely get a lot of people talking," Marek said.
"That's a very well, globally recognized piece that's very well globally recognized and getting a lot of attention for even having it in Cleveland much less having it right here in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
There's also the work of Canadian artist Thrush Holmes that transformed the east escalator in a rather unique way.
"He actually came in with a pressurized fire hydrant filled with wine and gold paint and just let it loose and just spray painted. So you can imagine the mess that he made but I think when people go up that particular escalator not only will they see that level of art but they'll also see these incredible neon pieces that were also created," Marek said.
There is also a celebration of sport from a piece on the main concourse that uses basketballs and hockey pucks baring the logos of area high schools to spell out Ohio to a celebration of the greatest plays in Cavaliers history.
"We gave those plays to our coaching staff and said OK put in the Xs and Os for them so that they make a lot of sense and they're factually accurate," Marek said. "We then took their very statistical drawings and we handed it over to an artist to create it into something more. So now we have a mural that really has touched a lot of people and that's actually also a part of the fabric of our city."
And that is key she said with all of the works displayed in the new arena.
"I think this building is reflective of the culture of the city and the personality of the city," Marek said.
All of which the public will be able to see this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free tickets to the open house are available here.