Sidney Crosby teams with artist to raise money for Brian Shaw memorial fund
A Lower Burrell artist’s autographed portrait of Penguins star Sidney Crosby will be auctioned off in December to raise money for a scholarship fund honoring slain New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw.
“Apparently, Crosby’s a big fan of first responders, so when he found out about the reason for the piece he was all on board,” artist Larry “Klu” Klukaszewski said.
Crosby, who was in Edmonton with the team Tuesday, couldn’t be reached for comment, but Penguins spokeswoman Jennifer Bullano said the team captain was honored to participate in a project that will benefit future first responders. The Officer Brian Shaw Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to establish a scholarship at the Allegheny County Police Training Academy.
“I think that’s something that’s always just been important to him, and someone lost in the line of duty in Pittsburgh, which is his home away from home, I think he definitely wanted to do something to help,” Bullano said, noting Crosby has said he might have become a firefighter if he wasn’t a star athlete.
Scholarship fund committee member Ron Balla said he approached his friend Klukaszewski about donating a piece of art to benefit the fund because the artist had worked with the Steelers and Penguins and done work for charity in the past.
Klukaszewski met with committee members over the summer and decided Crosby would be the perfect subject. Ironically, the artist had recently started working on a portrait of Crosby when the decision was made. He began integrating tributes to Shaw into the portrait.
Shaw’s badge number — 29 — can be seen in Crosby’s clear visor, and a thin blue line surrounds the portrait.
Klukaszewski, 48, said he didn’t know Shaw personally, but he felt like he got to know him while painting the portrait.
“I would whisper little thoughts at Officer Shaw as I was painting it,” he said.
Crosby signed the piece Oct. 15.
“It was just a matter of nailing things down with his schedule and my schedule. It finally came to fruition last week,” Klukaszewski said.
The portrait will be auctioned off after the East Suburban Artists League’s annual show at Penn State New Kensington in December. All proceeds from the auction will go to the scholarship fund.
Shaw, who graduated from the Allegheny County Police Training Academy in 2014, was shot to death during a traffic stop and foot chase in November.
“It’s such a worthy thing to know that that painting will generate funds that will basically help train future police officers in honor of Officer Shaw. His legacy will live on, and I’m tied in in some small way,” Klukaszewski said.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.