Boxers out of the ring, in the studio

The Brooklyn Paper
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At Gleason’s Gym, boxers are taking their gloves off for art, and a special cause.

From September 26-27, as part of the Art Under the Bridge Festival in DUMBO, Gleason’s will turn into a gallery, showcasing art from over 35 artists. Among those on display will be pieces from 15 female boxers who worked with mosaic artist Grace Baley.

Baley, who lives in Bay Ridge and has a studio in DUMBO, also trains at Gleason’s, and she invited the female boxers to her studio to explore the creative outlet.

“It’s just the nature of the gym, you become very close with the people that also train with you,” said Baley. “The whole project just came together so naturally. As soon as I opened up my studio and people started coming, they had ideas of what mosaics they wanted to do.”

Many of the athletes naturally turned to boxing themes (one mosaic, by Baley, is a portrait of Muhammad Ali), with their individual personalities coming through in the colors and cut of the glass.

Rather than hang on to their works of art, the boxers are selling the pieces, with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to the Brooklyn-based community group Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), an organization committed to the physical, psychological, social and economic development of girls and women.

“We wanted to donate the money to an organization that empowers girls in sports,” said Baley. “(GGE) fit perfectly with where we wanted the money to go.”

Camille Currie, ranked second in the country at 132 lbs by USA Boxing, jumped at the chance to do something for the cause.

“Not only would I have the chance to try something new like mosaic art but knowing that my efforts would be donated to GGE was a great opportunity,” said Currie.

Others participating in the art project, ranging from amateur to professional boxers, included three-time Professional Boxing World Champion Alicia Ashley, Alexis Asher, Christina Beckles, Jennifer Czirr, Rochelle Feinstein, Emily Kramer, Mya Marquis, Keisher McLeod-Wells, Angela Querol, Kimberly Tomes, Toni Thompson, Jane Wallentas and Melody Yam.

“It was truly a wonderful experience for us female boxers to volunteer our time and come together in one room to explore our artistic side outside the ring while giving back to such a great organizati­on,” said McLeod-Wells, a 12-time championship-winning boxer known as “Fire” in the ring. “All of the pieces are very unique and beautiful.”

Indeed, while not professional artists, the women made pieces of professional quality, said Baley, spending hours on the details.

“They’re not amateur looking at all,” said Baley. “You’re getting a good piece of art.”

“Grace Baley Mosaic Art presents Gloves Off!” will showcase the female boxers mosaic art from noon to 8 p.m. each day during the Art Under the Bridge Festival, running September 26-27 in DUMBO.

Gleason’s Gym is located at 77 Front Street. For more information, call 718-797-2872.

Baley will also be hosting an open studio during the festival, in her space at 68 Jay Street, Room 819. For more on the artist, go to

For more on Girls for Gender Equity, go to

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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