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The Arthur Ashe Learning Center Inspirational Tour is now open at the New York Hall of Science and will remain for the duration of the U.S. Open (Aug. 26-Sept. 9). (NYSCI is located next door to the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.) The exhibit’s closing date will mark the 45th anniversary of Ashe’s victory at the inaugural U.S. Open in 1968. During this time, general admission to NYSCI is free, thanks to generous support from the AALC.
Many know Arthur Ashe as a famous tennis figure, but he had many other philanthropic interests. Founded in 2008, the AALC initially began as a web site, where people could get information on Ashe. This past July, it transformed into a travelling exhibit, starting in Ashe’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Utilizing touch screens, motion paintings, augmented reality and games, this exhibit explores four key areas of his life and work: sports and tennis; youth and education; health and wellness; youth and active citizenship. The exhibit appeals to people of all ages, rich in history and information, as well as provides fun activities for children, such as virtual table tennis, exercises and interactive quizzes.
Arthur Ashe got his first big break in tennis at the tender age of 16, right here in New York, when he debuted at the 1959 US National Championships at the Forest Hills West Side Tennis Club. Although he lost that day, he eventually won three Grand Slam singles titles during his career. In addition to the U.S. Open, he won the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975.
After retiring in 1980, Ashe worked as a commentator for ABC Sports, wrote for Time and other publications, and was an activist against South African Apartheid. As captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, Ashe led a team of American greats like John McEnroe, Peter Fleming and Jimmy Connors to Davis Cup championships in 1981 and 1982. In 1983, Ashe contracted HIV from a blood transfusion, following coronary bypass surgery. In the late 1980s, he created Safe Passage, a tennis program for at-risk children. He also established in Brooklyn the Arthur Ashe Institute of Urban Health. Ashe finally succumbed to complications from AIDS in 1993.
AALC exhibit hours are Monday–Friday, 9:30am–5pm and weekends, 10am–6pm. The New York Hall of Science is located at 47-01 111th Street, Corona, NY. NYSCI is easily reachable by taking the 7 train to 111th Street. For more information, visit nysci.org.
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