Guarding the Passage


Guarding the Passage

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"Guarding the Passage," an original painting by "America's Sports Artist," Rick Rush of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was unveiled in the Kodak Lounge of the Cheel Campus Center on February 20, 2009 in the midst of fans cheering the Clarkson Golden Knights Men's Hockey Team during their final home weekend of league play.

Commissioned by Pamela and John Brilbeck '68, the work portrays three hockey goalies, representing the past, present and future of Clarkson hockey. Behind the goal, vignettes of university history and a representation of the passage of a student from freshman to alum are featured.

"Guarding the Passage" started out as the nostalgic feeling that John Brilbeck '68 experienced when he returned to campus after almost 40 years of being away. "The spirit of the school has not changed since I graduated, even with a slight location change. I wanted a way to give back to Clarkson, and art was the best way for me," Brilbeck comments.

"This magnificent painting truly captures the Clarkson spirit," said Clarkson University President Tony Collins. "Rick has created an exciting work that celebrates Clarkson's history through hockey, and other images unique to Clarkson. We are grateful to John and Pamela Brilbeck for making this all possible."

Known as "America's Sports Artist," Rush is a master of the sports art genre and best known for interpretive painting. Painting professionally since 1975, Rush has earned much international recognition. Two American presidents are among those who commission or own his work, along with top financiers and entertainers, and many of America's best known sports stars. You will see Rush's art on display in many public museums and collections and at

The spirit of Clarkson is what moved Rick Rush to create this multi-faceted painting. He sensed the Clarkson spirit from the moment he stepped on campus to start his extensive research on this painting, and it was conveyed by President Tony Collins, John Brilbeck '68 and the students he spoke with. Rush is essentially a research scientist, that conveys his data points through art.

"I really enjoy looking at the new painting. I think that it is very well done, with all of the hidden historical people and objects in the background. I think that my favorite part about it is more colorful and alive and it has more action than most paintings I have seen," said Ben Watkins '09. "The painting is a great addition to the Kodak Lounge and it truly represents the way Clarkson's campus is changing and it is great to see Clarkson expanding and embracing creativity of the arts," comments Josh Fogarty '12.

Article courtesy of April Grant & Michael Griffin

The hand-pressed serigraph edition of Guarding the Passage is available exclusively through Clarkson University.