As I was walking down Jones last Friday heading to an event at ArtPad, I came across a group of excited children surrounding a very good-looking, muscular guy who was signing autographs. Upon closer examination I realized it was San Francisco 49ers’ Vernon Davis, and that there was a mural in progress right behind him on the wall of the Tenderloin Boys & Girls Club. Apparently Davis always loved drawing growing up, and even majored in studio art at the University of Maryland. So he wanted to share his passion for art with the kids in the neighborhood by participating with them in the making of a mural in collaboration with artist and teacher Cameron Moberg (and sponsored by the SF Arts Commission StreetSmARTs program).

Although I missed the beginning of the mural-painting event, the Chron quotes him as saying: “I use art as therapy right now,” encouraging the youth to do the same. “Art takes my mind away from football. Sometimes it helps to put your focus somewhere else.” The article also quotes an 11 year-old girl who hopes that the many taggers in the area won’t vandalize the mural because everyone loves Davis, and we have to agree with her.

After the event at the Boys & Girls Club in the Tenderloin, Davis presented the “Vernon Davis visual arts scholarship” to Lowell High School student Sheryl Quock at the De Young Museum’s “Young At Art” gala. The scholarship provides tuition support to San Francisco youth interested pursuing a career in visual arts.