Cleveland teenager’s Francisco Lindor portrait moves to Smithsonian Museum

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CLEVELAND - A portrait of Tribe shortstop Francisco Lindor drawn by a Cleveland teenager is now at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

13-year-old Nicholas Mariani spent months drawing the rendering of his favorite player during art classes at League Park’s Baseball Heritage Museum.

“He’s my favorite baseball player, and he's one of my idols,” Nicholas said.

Lindor signed the original and 12 prints, keeping one for himself.

The Smithsonian Institute was so impressed by the work, museum curators are hoping to display the portrait in an upcoming Latinos and Baseball exhibit set to open in April, 2020.

“He is a talented young man and his portrait really animates the topic of Latino fandom, which we will be covering in our upcoming exhibit,” said National Museum of American History Curator Margaret Salazar-Porzio.

Nicholas and his family hand-delivered the portrait to the museum last week and got a special behind-the-scenes tour. They also met with Cuban artist Reynerio Tamayo.

“It was really amazing, and I was grateful for it because we got to go behind the scenes,” Nicholas said. “I saw people from like all over the world, and now that I think about it, a lot of people are going to see it.”

Salzar-Porzio said while she is not allowed to promise that any object will be exhibited, she has every intention to display the portrait in the upcoming exhibit.

The exhibit, which is yet to be officially named, is still in its early development stages. Salzar-Porzio said it will explore Latino culture and its connection to baseball.

“I hope that it's been very inspirational for Nicholas and his brother, as well. They're both very talented artists,” said his mother, Delinda Mariani, who is an art teacher for the Cleveland schools.

“I think them seeing all the work at the Smithsonian and basically another avenue where art can take you will provide them some motivation to keep drawing.”

One print of the portrait recently sold for $1,900 at a charity auction benefitting the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, she said. Delinda said she is exploring other charitable causes that the prints could raise money for, particularly to benefit Puerto Ricans recovering from the hurricane.

“That makes me think I have a pretty good future in it,” Nicholas said. “I can do a lot of things for charities, myself, college funds and things like that.”

He said his current project is a portrait of his favorite basketball player – Kyrie Irving.

Read more on Francisco Lindor here.

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