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ATLANTA – WWE Superstars and Divas gathered at Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom Wednesday night to kick off WrestleMania Week at one of WWE’s most colorful and exciting annual charity events, WrestleMania Art. (PHOTOS)
WWE's fourth WrestleMania Art exhibition and auction showcased the artistic works of dozens of Superstars and Divas at the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. The event’s proceeds benefited Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
The evening began with the star-studded red carpet arrivals of Superstars, Divas and honorees from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta – J.J., Jordan and Bradley. While the attendees caught their first glimpse of the many works of art available in the silent auction, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed welcomed the WWE Universe to the city, and explained the significance of the evening’s special event.
“Through [WWE’s] successful partnership with the Atlanta Sports Council and events like this evening’s auction, WWE will generate critical dollars to one of our community’s most important resources for children. So it's not just about [WrestleMania]. It’s about helping kids and people in the city of Atlanta,” Reed said.
“And if all that wasn’t enough, I just learned this evening that Vince and Linda McMahon’s Family Foundation has generously offered to match the net dollars raised during this event,” the mayor added as the WWE Universe erupted in cheers.
After the Superstars and Divas were introduced, they mingled with Atlanta art enthusiasts and members of the WWE Universe in town for WrestleMania XXVII. From Vickie Guerrero’s cougar-themed collage (complete with her signature necklace) to Melina’s Skittles-inspired 3-D work to JTG’s digitally altered poster of President Barack Obama wearing “Yo Yo Yo”-decorated sunglasses, the Superstars and Divas’ works drew oohs, ahhs and plenty of smiles from the WWE Universe.
WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler and SmackDown color commentator Booker T sketched works for a live auction. Lawler’s Undertaker drawing fetched $1,500, while Booker’s drawing of his wife, former WWE Diva Queen Sharmell, sold for $900. The former World Champion even threw in a Spinaroonie on stage to the delight of the crowd!
Natalya spoke passionately about her whimsical, kaleidoscope-like watercolor, which she intricately created with only one brush throughout three to four days.
“I feel like it represents how I view the world. I love doing things in color. I love bright, bold colors. I kind of live my life in a very bright, bold way,” the third-generation Diva explained to WWE.com.
Natalya said that WrestleMania Art is a night to put smiles on people’s faces – especially the kids from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“Tonight, WWE is supporting such a great cause. It kind of puts [everything] in perspective. Wow, these kids are the heroes. This is what it’s all about. They’re the ones who make it worthwhile for us.”
Daniel Bryan had the honor of walking Bradley from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta down the red carpet before the event. Bryan said he eased Bradley’s nerves in front of the flash bulbs and cameras, and they quickly became friends.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I came in with one of the kids, Bradley. He was just really cool, a really nice kid. He seems to be having so much fun!” Bryan said.
Although he wasn’t sure his painting was ready for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bryan was simply happy to be taking part in his first WrestleMania Art.
“Hearts are really the only thing I could draw, anatomical figures,” he said of his wildly colorful painting.
“I’m not going to say my art is like Picasso, but it’s Picasso-esque in a really bad, poor way, like in the color scheme and all that kind of stuff,” Bryan joked.
After showing off his drawing – his name written in Crayola markers that was readable right-side-up or upside-down – an unusually-humble Zack Ryder expressed excitement for being able to auction his first WrestleMania Art piece for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“It’s great that Superstars are helping to raise money for such a great cause. It’s just so great to be a part of it."
For more information on Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, visit choa.org.