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Tiger Legacy: Our Tiger Football Family

Massillon Museum Tiger Legacy Exhibition to Feature Contemporary Photographs

Tiger Legacy: Our Tiger Football Family will open on Saturday, September 12, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., in the main gallery of the Massillon Museum. A free opening reception will welcome everyone—players and their families, students, Boosters, Tiger fans, Museum members, and people who want to learn more about the Massillon Tiger tradition.  No reservations will be required.  

About the Exhibition

Led by Gary Harwood and David Foster, this community storytelling and photography project explores the culture of high school football and the connection between the community of Massillon and its Tigers. The images and essays depict the spirit, passion, dedication, and tradition of one the most storied programs in the United States:  The Massillon Tigers.

In addition to photographs by Harwood and Foster, who teach in Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, student photographers contributed to the exhibition: Adrianne Bastas, Caitlin Bourque, Chelsie Corso, Coty Giannelli, Matt Hafley, Jenna Watson, and Jessica White.

Alexandra Nicholis Coon, executive director of the Massillon Museum, believes it is essential for the Museum to merge art and football in a way that is artistic while also preserving the history of the town’s famous high school football tradition.  

The exhibition merges diverse talents and specific interests into one singular goal:  to capture the history and culture that is Massillon’s football legacy. The exhibition includes 55 color photographs depicting players’ families and iconic fans.  Although each photograph carries a strong enough message to convey a story on its own, generous captions accompany the images. 

This is the second installment of the Tiger community storytelling project. The first exhibition, November 18, 2012 to February 17, 2013, focused on the team. Images from that exhibition—Tiger Legacy: Playing for Your City—can be seen at the Kent State University School of Art Gallery, September 3 through 25, 2015 (opening reception—September 10). 

The Tiger Legacy: Our Tiger Football Family project will culminate with the publication of a book by Harwood and Foster in the spring of 2016.

About Gary Harwood

Gary Harwood, who has worked as a photographer and teacher for more than 30 years, is the co-author of Growing Season: The Life of a Migrant Community. The book won the 2007 Carter G. Woodson Honor Award from the National Council for the Social Studies and the 2007 Ohioana Book Award from the Ohioana Library Association. It was awarded a 2005 Artist and Communities Grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and was selected by the Mayor’s Literacy Commission of Canton for its annual One Book One Community reading program.

Harwood won the 2005 and 2012 James R. Gordon Ohio Understanding Award from the Ohio News Photographers Association, the 2006 Individual Artist Grant for photography from the Ohio Arts Council, and four national Circle of Excellence awards from The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He was named the 2001 Photographer of the Year by The University Photographers Association of America (UPPA). UPPA named Harwood “Master of the Profession” in 2011—one of the first five photographers to receive the honor during the 50-year history of the organization.

Harwood’s work has appeared in national publications including the Communication Arts Photo Annual and the Graphis Photo Annual, The Sun Magazine and Double Take/Points of Entry. His images have been exhibited at the Canton Museum of Art, The Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography and other venues throughout the United States.

About David Foster

David Foster is an assistant professor of multimedia and photojournalism at Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He holds a master’s degree in journalism education as well as an undergraduate degree in photojournalism from Kent State University. Following his undergraduate degree, Foster attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. In 2006 and 2007, he was named Ohio News Photographers Association Student Photographer of the Year. He has interned as a photographer at the The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, OH) and the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, OH) and currently lives in Kent, Ohio.

About the Massillon Museum 

An exhibition of photographs by a former Massillon Tiger football player, Willie Longshore, who played on the 1951 championship team, will open concurrently with the Tiger Legacy exhibition. Both black and white and color photography by Longshore will be displayed in the second-floor photography gallery. The Longshore exhibition continues through November 1, 2015.

Guests will also be able to see the Paul Brown: The Professional Years exhibition in the Massillon Tiger Football Gallery in Memory of Paul L. David throughout the duration of the Tiger Legacy exhibition.

Artwork by Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon will debut in the Massillon Museum's Studio M from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on September 12 in the lower level Fred F. Silk Community Room.

The exhibition may be seen during regular Museum hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., from Saturday, September 5, through November 1, 2015.

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark to augment its primary local funding.

The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon.  Free parking is available on adjacent streets, in nearby city lots, and in the city parking deck on South Erie Street.  For additional information, call the Museum at 330.833.4061 or visit  A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.

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