Yakira Chapman, a junior fashion merchandising and design major, with “107: Take Your Pick,” which she painted as part of the NBA’s 2023 Student Art Showcase.

A fashion merchandising and design major in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is scoring big at this year’s NBA’s All-Star game – with her art.

Yakira Chapman, a junior, applied and was selected to exhibit an original painting as part of the 2023 NBA All-Star x HBCU Student Art Showcase, a commissioned art show taking place during NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. Printed versions of the artwork will be on display in the arena during the weekend’s events.

“It makes me really happy and excited,” said Chapman. “Stuff like this doesn’t always seem to be within reach for HBCU (Historically Black College and University) students, so I’m excited to be representing my school and do something I love on such a big stage. I hope that more people see that our program and fashion programs at other HBCUs are good to be in, and I hope that somebody’s inspired to look into fashion programs here or elsewhere.”

As one of eight students across the country chosen for the showcase, Chapman, in collaboration with NBA’s creative team, created a commissioned artwork depicting her experience at an HBCU. Her piece, a retrospective titled “107: Take Your Pick,” will be included on the event’s promotional materials, as well as published on NBA’s social media accounts and NBA.com.

“Yakira engages in class while drawing – almost constantly – on her sketchpad,” her professor, Beth Newcomb-Hopfer, said.

The acrylic painting features scenes of A&T life, including a gold medal, representing Olympic track superstars Trevor Stewart and Randolph Ross, Jr.; the royal court found at most HBCUs; February One; an outfit from the Greatest Homecoming on Earth’s fashion show; a model, showing the importance and variety of hairstyles at an HBCU; and skateboarders.

“Skateboarders are very prevalent here,” said Chapman. “They’re always outside of the Student Center. Skateboarding isn’t something that you’d think of when you think about the HBCU experience, but they’re very important here.”

Going from concept to canvas started with a discussion with the NBA’s creative team, then initial sketches and ideas on her iPad, and finally, to paint.

“They wanted us to do work that was true to us,” said Chapman. “My first fashion design was a patchwork denim jacket, so I wanted to incorporate that into my painting and make it more ‘me’.  I thought that was a great part of their program.”

“Yakira engages in class while drawing – almost constantly – on her sketchpad. It isn’t uncommon for her to fill up a page with beautiful art while participating and listening in class,” said Elizabeth Hopfer, Ph.D., associate professor in fashion merchandising and design. “It is no surprise that she is now being honored as a commissioned artist on this national platform. Yakira will surely benefit from the opportunity to share her talents alongside other HBCU students, network with attendees and meet the NBA creative team.”

The showcase was created to increase awareness of HBCUs and their students while also providing career and professional development opportunities, according to Gary Mack, the NBA’s vice president for creative strategy and production.

“Art is a powerful medium that has been beautifully expressed by these talented student artists,” said Mack. “Their artwork showcases their unique style and demonstrates how they have explored their own artistic expression.”

Another Aggie, Janiya Barcliff, a junior visual media (graphic) design major in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, will also be part of the showcase.

“Yakira and Janiya are very talented artists with unique points of view and are great ambassadors for [their] university,” said Mack. “They added their unique creative expression to the showcase, and that will elevate the discussion around HBCU excellence.”

The eight selected students will have various opportunities to shine, Mack said. They will attend events such as Jordan Rising Stars, NBA x HBCU Classic Presented by AT&T, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, and the 72nd NBA All-Star Game, followed by an AT&T career development session with other HBCU students. The two students will attend Sunday’s All-Star game on Feb. 19 while a video of their art and all of the featured artists will be shown in the arena during “All-Star Saturday Night”.

“The fashion merchandising and design program is thrilled to celebrate Yakira’s accomplishment with her,” Newcomb said. “We know that her star will shine as bright as the NBA All-Stars!”

For more information on NBA’s HBCU initiatives and events, go to https://www.nba.com/hbcus.