Press Release

First On Orbit Space Art Exhibition and Auction for Challenger Center

By SpaceRef Editor
October 21, 2008
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Alexandria, VA – Richard Garriott, private space explorer and son of former NASA astronaut, Dr. Owen Garriott, currently on board the International Space Station has organized the first ever space art exhibition on-orbit. As part of his mission, he is creating works of art that reflect both the emotional experience of being in space and the physical effects of zero gravity. To showcase works he has created in space and several pieces created on Earth that highlight the importance of private space travel to future generations, he is holding the first ever art show in space; bringing the cultural and artistic aspirations of a group of artists to the new frontier.

In partnership with Zero Gravity Art, Inc, U.S. artists submitted their works into the Zero Gravity Art contest to have their work included in the exhibit. 12 works of art were selected from 15 finalists and include: Steve Jenson, Drue Kataoka, Greg Mort, John Matthew Riva, Melinda Fager, and Stanley Goldstein. As part of this ground breaking event, the artists have agreed that their work will be donated to be part of a charitable auction benefiting the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, a well-known and widely acclaimed educational network of 50 Challenger Learning Centers across the country and around the world.

Artist John Matthew Riva met the Challenger 51L astronauts when he was a child, and was naturally moved to be a part of such a meaningful, positive, and once in a lifetime opportunity. “If I can’t get to space, at least my work will… and when it comes back, I hope the work will inspire a new generation of space explorers and engineers as the proceeds of the pieces sold at auction will go to such a worthy cause as the Challenger Center.” Artist Greg Mort told Challenger Center that he is “proud to be a space artist since 1983”, and happy that his piece, “Zero-G Apples will be auctioned off in support of the organization”.

Zero Gravity Art, Inc., formed by Richard Garriott, Heidi Messer-Martin, Tad Martin and Stephen Messer, is dedicated to exploring the new possibilities presented for art and artistic development in a revolutionary era for civilian space exploration. The date for the auction to benefit the Challenger Center has not yet been set and will be announced in a separate release. The project is sponsored by Zero Gravity Art, Inc., and coordinated in conjunction with Space Adventures. To see the art, visit

Challenger Center for Space Science Education was founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts of the space shuttle Challenger 51-L mission and is dedicated to the educational spirit of that mission. Challenger Learning Center programs at 50 centers continue the crew’s mission of engaging teachers and students in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. To locate a Challenger Learning Center near you, visit

For Challenger Center information, please contact:

Rita Karl, Director of Educational Programs
Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Alexandria, VA

If you are a member of the media and would like to request an interview with Richard Garriott, please contact: Stacey Tearne, Space Adventures 703-894-2192,

SpaceRef staff editor.