Game On! Oakland Museum Director Bets on Warriors to Win

It's Stephen Curry vs. LeBron James and Oakland vs. Cleveland museums in the 2015 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)

Who says art and sports can't play together, especially if there's a good wager in the mix?

On Thursday, the directors of the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) entered into a public bet on their respective home teams to win the NBA finals.

While basketball has long provided source material or inspirational fodder for visual artists (see Paul Pfeiffer, Mark BradfordDevin Troy Strother and recent CCA MFA grad Josh Stulen, to name a few) it's rare for museum professionals to publicly proclaim their fandom.

But this time, you know, it's for the kids!

The stakes are set: If the Golden State Warriors win (knock on wood), the CMA will sponsor a "Warriors-themed art experience" at OMCA for 100 children from YMCA of the East Bay.


But if the Cleveland Cavaliers take the title, OMCA will similarly sponsor 100 children from the Cleveland-area Boys and Girls Clubs Fatima Family Center in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood to visit the CMA.

Friendly bets between rival cities and their institutions are nothing new. Remember last year's wager between Mayor Ed Lee and Kansas City's Sly James over the 2014 World Series? Or the art museums of Denver and Seattle promising to trade in signature items from their collections depending on the outcome of the 2014 Super Bowl?

But a new trend is on the rise, in which the old stakes of public humiliation (donning, say, a rival jersey or swapping regional delicacies) are abandoned in favor of community service and support.

Not above a little trash talk, Lori Fogarty, Director and CEO of the Oakland Museum of California says, "We look forward to welcoming children to OMCA when the Cavaliers lose. Game on! Go Dubs!"