The American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) welcomed about 40 honor art students from the Pearl, Miss., high school for a recent tour.

None of the students had toured the museum before. It arguably holds the largest collection of sport art in the world with more than 1,700 pieces in all media.

Artist Bruce Larsen talks about his "Iron Bowl" sculpture to Pearl, Miss., honor art students.

The students, who were led by art teacher Felicia Lee, took tours of both the inside of the museum and its Sport Sculpture Park outdoors on its Daphne, Ala., campus. Well-known Fairhope, Ala., sculptor Bruce Larsen, the Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year, led the outside tour that includes six of his found art pieces. B’Beth Weldon, an Academy Art Committee member and Fairhope painter, also helped lead the tour.

Lee reported that the young art students were quite overwhelmed by the variety of art found at ASAMA, whether it was the assemblages by Jim Ridlon, the Academy’s 1989 Sport Artist of the Year, or the Bing Mah Yong paintings by Charles Billich, the Academy’s 2000 Sport Artist of the Year.

The students were also the first ones to see the Academy’s wire statues displayed in its new Olympic Special Collections Room. Students, of course, also said they were impressed by the found object sculptures done by Larsen, who spoke about each one.

“Many of the art teachers and students expressed an interest in coming back, which we certainly would welcome them to do,” said Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, who founded ASAMA’s in 1984 and is the Academy’s president and CEO. “This was a very well behaved group and they were a pleasure.”

ASAMA is open to the public free from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information about the museum or tours, please call 251-626-3303 or visit