DC locals combine sports and art ahead of the 2023 MLS All-Star Game

The Carnegie Library Apple Store hosted an art battle to kick off the All-Star week

DC locals combine sports and art ahead of the 2023 MLS All-Star Game
Artists Kelly Towles (left) and Matt Corrado (right) draw their designs, which appear behind them, on the latest iPad models

Two D.C. mural artists faced off at the Carnegie Library Apple Store on July 16 to usher in the start of Major League Soccer All-Star Week. 

Kelly Towles and Matt Corrado readied their iPads, Apple Pencils and Procreate apps, and went head-to-head for a half hour, each creating their own digital mural design to celebrate D.C. hosting this year’s MLS All-Star Game. Apple TV's MLS Season Pass hosts Jake Zivin and Max Bretos judged the contest at the end of the half hour. Corrado won the vote by a tight margin in an audience-led tiebreaker. 

Towles produced an image of a jovial boy with a soccer ball for a head, which Bretos said tapped into the idea of American soccer players reaching for the stars in such a widespread and international game. Corrado created the winning image of a Rubber Hose-style foot kicking a soccer ball with the caption “KICK IT!”

“A lot of my work is about sports and I’ve done a bunch of projects with different sports leagues,” Corrado said. “Any time I can combine sports and art together is a big win for me.”

Secret Walls, introduced by host Che Anderson, is a live mural art battle that started in Shoreditch, London, and is now headquartered in Los Angeles. Secret Walls has hosted battles around the world. According to Anderson, Secret Walls promotes its battles through culture — most notably, social media and word-of-mouth.

“This is your chance to be as loud as you can be in an Apple Store,” Anderson said between quips about Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi leaving Paris Saint-Germain to join the MLS’ Inter Miami.

The Carnegie Library Apple Store won’t be the only place in the District getting loud this week, with soccer fans from around the world coming to the city to celebrate All-Star Week.

The 2023 MLS All-Star Game was hosted on July 19 at Audi Field, where the MLS All-Stars faced off against the Premier League’s Arsenal FC.

“This city and the MLS have an incredible history. The D.C. United of the late 90s and the early 2000s were really the first great MLS team,” said Zivin. “For this All-Star Game to take place during the most important week in the history of the league, with Messi signing with Miami on Friday and Arsenal coming over for the game, D.C. is an appropriate place for it.”

“We’re a very young league, so if you can channel into the history, that’s a big deal,” said Bretos. “To me, in the pantheon of all the all-star games, the MLS is up there.”

On Monday, July 17, the MLS All-Stars practiced on American University’s Reeves Field before heading to Audi Field for the Skills Challenge and All-Star Game.


This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis. 

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