Ashe ’68 at the 2018 US Open

The Ashe ’68 Photo Exhibit and Virtual Reality Experience were recently exhibited on-site at the 2018 US Open, at Flushing Meadows, NY, in partnership with the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

 
 Photographer John G. Zimmerman’s iconic photos of Ashe were beautifully presented on 8 photo boxes, 16 images in all, 6’ x 4’, with frames of brushed aluminum. The exhibit was designed by Bill Sullivan and the framed boxes were built by David Rothman Framemakers, NYC.

Photographer John G. Zimmerman’s iconic photos of Ashe were beautifully presented on 8 photo boxes, 16 images in all, 6’ x 4’, with frames of brushed aluminum. The exhibit was designed by Bill Sullivan and the framed boxes were built by David Rothman Framemakers, NYC.

The 2018 US Open was the 50th Anniversary of Arthur Ashe’s historic win and the project was a centerpiece of the USTA’s festivities. This exhibition made possible by a generous grant from Rolex. Special thanks to Katrina Adams and her team at the USTA.

Additional support greatly appreciated from the Foundation for Global Sports Development, Thomas Chewning and Jonathan Foster.

We had a tremendously successful run at the Open. The outdoor photo exhibit was viewed by several hundred thousand people. The indoor exhibition and Virtual Reality piece was viewed by 3000-5000 people per day. Reactions were simply tremendous. Some folks cried, some relived memories and shared impressions about Arthur, and others learned about him for the very first time. It was a very fitting tribute to Arthur for the 50th anniversary.

Here are a few anecdotes from our colleague Brad Lichtenstein, the Ashe 68 VR Director. 

A tennis coach came through the exhibit. After watching the VR I spotted him by the podium weeping. I asked him what impacted him but he was too choked up and, with an apology, left our space. I decided to go find him and let him know that I was the maker of the VR film. I found him in the courtyard. When I introduced myself as the filmmaker he embraced me. After he let go he told me that the film meant so much to him because he's fought hard to recruit and coach black girls for his team (a top-10 Division 1 program). After years of just one or none, he finally has 4 on the team and his inspiration, always, was Arthur Ashe. He has his portrait above his desk and he knew him a little. He then told me that if Arthur were alive he would have loved the film.

Other moments: the woman from Haiti who said she wanted to go on the road with the film. The woman from a fortune 500 company who said she wanted to bring the film to her company's diversity and inclusion training. The young black woman (maybe 14) who said she always thought Arthur Ashe was a rich white guy who got his name on the stadium for donating money. 

So many but these are the stories I've been telling. 

-Brad Lichtenstein

 The Ashe 68 Photo exhibit was seen by hundreds of thousands of people over a 3-week installation at the 2018 US Open, and was a popular spot among US Open guests.

The Ashe 68 Photo exhibit was seen by hundreds of thousands of people over a 3-week installation at the 2018 US Open, and was a popular spot among US Open guests.

 The Ashe 68 Virtual Reality Experience was seen by thousands of people of all ages.

The Ashe 68 Virtual Reality Experience was seen by thousands of people of all ages.

 Stan Smith, in 1968 with great friend Arthur Ashe, and now. Stan is a former world No. 1 American tennis player, US Open (‘71) and Wimbledon (‘72) singles champion who also, with his partner Bob Lutz, formed one of the most successful doubles teams of all time. But, as his beautiful new book (by Rizzoli) points out on the cover, “Some people think I’m a shoe.”

Stan Smith, in 1968 with great friend Arthur Ashe, and now. Stan is a former world No. 1 American tennis player, US Open (‘71) and Wimbledon (‘72) singles champion who also, with his partner Bob Lutz, formed one of the most successful doubles teams of all time. But, as his beautiful new book (by Rizzoli) points out on the cover, “Some people think I’m a shoe.”

 Johnnie Ashe (r) (Arthur’s brother) and daughter Luchia Ashe.

Johnnie Ashe (r) (Arthur’s brother) and daughter Luchia Ashe.

 The Ashe ‘68 Phpto Exhibit, 16 panels, displayed on The Alley, the main walkway at the US Open. In the background, left, the iconic Arthur Ashe statue.

The Ashe ‘68 Phpto Exhibit, 16 panels, displayed on The Alley, the main walkway at the US Open. In the background, left, the iconic Arthur Ashe statue.

 The Ashe 68 VR Experience installation

The Ashe 68 VR Experience installation

 The Ashe ‘68 Phpto Exhibit, 16 panels, displayed on The Alley, the main walkway at the US Open. In the background, right, the iconic Arthur Ashe statue.

The Ashe ‘68 Phpto Exhibit, 16 panels, displayed on The Alley, the main walkway at the US Open. In the background, right, the iconic Arthur Ashe statue.

 Experiencing the Ashe ‘68 Virtual Reality.

Experiencing the Ashe ‘68 Virtual Reality.

 Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and Donald Dell (Arthur’s Davis Cup captain, agent, lawyer and great friend, check out the 1968 US Open mens’ draw, reproduced by designer Bill Sullivan, which was a huge hit amongst Tennis aficionados.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and Donald Dell (Arthur’s Davis Cup captain, agent, lawyer and great friend, check out the 1968 US Open mens’ draw, reproduced by designer Bill Sullivan, which was a huge hit amongst Tennis aficionados.

 The Ashe 68 Photo exhibit was seen by hundreds of thousands of people over a 3-week installation at the 2018 US Open.

The Ashe 68 Photo exhibit was seen by hundreds of thousands of people over a 3-week installation at the 2018 US Open.

 USTA CEO Katrina Adams

USTA CEO Katrina Adams

 The iconic, at times controversial, Arthur Ashe statue

The iconic, at times controversial, Arthur Ashe statue

 The Ashe 68 Photo exhibit was seen by hundreds of thousands of people over a 3-week installation at the 2018 US Open.

The Ashe 68 Photo exhibit was seen by hundreds of thousands of people over a 3-week installation at the 2018 US Open.

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 Chris Eubanks, ATP tour player (top 200), who portrays Arthur Ashe in the "Match Point" section of the film, checking out his performance. Chris starred at Georgia Tech and is now traveling the globe full time as an ATP Tour player. More on his performance as Arthur Ashe in the film at https://www.ashe68.com/vr-experience/

Chris Eubanks, ATP tour player (top 200), who portrays Arthur Ashe in the "Match Point" section of the film, checking out his performance. Chris starred at Georgia Tech and is now traveling the globe full time as an ATP Tour player. More on his performance as Arthur Ashe in the film at https://www.ashe68.com/vr-experience/

 The night sessions brought the Ashe VR Experience our biggest crowds.

The night sessions brought the Ashe VR Experience our biggest crowds.

 USTA CEO Katrina Adams, our biggest supporter.

USTA CEO Katrina Adams, our biggest supporter.

 Project producer Beth Hubbard

Project producer Beth Hubbard

 Arthur Ashe’s friend Marvin Dent, (l), with former ATP Player Clement N’Goran of Ivory Coast (center)and friend.

Arthur Ashe’s friend Marvin Dent, (l), with former ATP Player Clement N’Goran of Ivory Coast (center)and friend.

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 VR Director Brad Lichtenstein interviewed by WCBS-New York.

VR Director Brad Lichtenstein interviewed by WCBS-New York.

 Ashe ‘68 project producer Rex Miller and new friends.

Ashe ‘68 project producer Rex Miller and new friends.

 Veteran Tennis journalist Cindy Shmerler (NYT, Tennis Mag, WCBS Radio) experiences the Ashe ‘68 Virtual Reality film.

Veteran Tennis journalist Cindy Shmerler (NYT, Tennis Mag, WCBS Radio) experiences the Ashe ‘68 Virtual Reality film.

 Siblings Dana Chan and Michael Chan share pix and stories from their Arthur Ashe experience at a tennis camp, ca. 1980s.

Siblings Dana Chan and Michael Chan share pix and stories from their Arthur Ashe experience at a tennis camp, ca. 1980s.

 Charles Smith, NJ teaching pro and former ATA player, came by the VR Exhibition to share remembrances of watching Arthur in person in the 1968 US Open finals. He then located an image of his 1968-self in the large photo in the back, frame left!

Charles Smith, NJ teaching pro and former ATA player, came by the VR Exhibition to share remembrances of watching Arthur in person in the 1968 US Open finals. He then located an image of his 1968-self in the large photo in the back, frame left!

 Johnnie Ashe (Arthur’s brother) in a live interview on US Open Radio, from the Ashe 68 VR Experience exhibit.

Johnnie Ashe (Arthur’s brother) in a live interview on US Open Radio, from the Ashe 68 VR Experience exhibit.

 An ESPN crew tapes some of the imagery. Shots of the exhibition were used throughout the US Open broadcasts.

An ESPN crew tapes some of the imagery. Shots of the exhibition were used throughout the US Open broadcasts.

 Ashe 68 colleague Glenn Gilliam, right, was a tremendous help at the VR exhibition. His network of friends and colleagues who visited included this group of Black Tennis Journalists, all working the Open.

Ashe 68 colleague Glenn Gilliam, right, was a tremendous help at the VR exhibition. His network of friends and colleagues who visited included this group of Black Tennis Journalists, all working the Open.

 NYPD’s finest were represented as well.

NYPD’s finest were represented as well.

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 Ashe ‘68 project producer Rex Miller, always on the job, with daughter Ruby, 6.

Ashe ‘68 project producer Rex Miller, always on the job, with daughter Ruby, 6.