The Superbowl is over and although it may have been a disappointment for 49er fans, for one player, there is plenty to celebrate. Most professional football players are not opening art galleries and funding arts scholarships but then again, most professional NFL players, are not Vernon Davis. An artist in his free time, the 49ers tight end recently opened the art Gallery 85 in the Santana Row strip of San Jose. Gallery 85 is not just a passing phase for Davis. Vernon Davis is also a talented, trained visual artist who majored in studio art at the University of Maryland.

The art gallery is named after Davis’ 85 jersey number and heavily features his works.

Among the more established names on display, like contemporary abstract artist Melissa Ayr and jazz painter Bruni Sablan, the mixed media sculptures of Nyijale (pronounced Nigel) Cummings –- the newest recipient of the Vernon Davis Scholarship for the Arts — shows the caliber of Davis, the Gallery and his cause. The Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts was created by artist, athlete, and philanthropist Vernon Davis to promote art education and art appreciation among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We fulfill our mission by providing scholarships to dedicated art students and grants to deserving nonprofit programs who share in our ideals.”

Until February 10th, Gallery 85 is showing “The Red Zone” a curated group exhibition focusing on the works by artists in the Bay Area. The theme of the exhibition is a springboard to the gallery’s new space, the New Year and to highlight the Foundation’s mission. Participating Artists: Melissa Ayr, John Casey, Alexis Amann, Namita Kapoor, Christine Morla, Phe Ruiz, Melody Kennedy, Manny Silva, Casey Gray, Randy Bricco, Garett Malate, Bruni, Mark Gray, Lorraine Lawson, Jason Burton, Bruni, Mark Gray and more.

Contemporary Abstract Artist, Melissa Ayr is an artist who paints with air. Born in New York, Ayr has emerged from her studio as an international contemporary abstract artist, with a fresh perspective on contemporary painting with her unique practice of using a leaf blower to push paint on canvas. Ayr releases her latest works as a collection inspired by California, the Poppy Collection sets the tone and elements of this floral series with vibrant luminosity. Classically trained in the elements of composition, color and perspective, Ayr creates her own canvas and color pallet with a mixture of pigment, oil and acrylic. Her art is on the cutting edge of color with bold flowing blends of light and dark. Her style is colorful, vibrant, and full of texture. She incorporates high energy, fluidity, growth and life. The Poppy collection is a body of work created entirely using air. Her instrument of choice is her signature leaf blower which enables Melissa to move layers of paint across the canvas with swift strokes creating an ethereal style that is neither tempered nor deliberate.

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