Dallas Cowboys Security Guard Turns Stadium Art Ambassador

Mel Bochner, Win! (2009) Photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys Art Program

The Dallas Cowboys Art Program at AT&T Stadium boasts a surprisingly impressive roster of artists,  including Mel Bochner, Anish Kapoor, and Olafur Eliasson, all handpicked by Cowboys president and owner Jerry Jones and his family. However, the unsung hero of the art program is a stadium security guard named Phil Whitfield. Whitfield has been a friend of the Jones family since he started working at the stadium in the 1990s. So, when it came time to for the artists to install 58 pieces of art throughout the stadium, Jones knew just who to ask for assistance.

Despite not having any prior knowledge of art, Whitfield became the artists’ “right-hand man” during the installations, which sometimes lasted all night. According to NBC, “as a result, Whitfield can tell you how each artist installed their piece, what they liked for dinner and just about everything related to their history.”


College basketball fans reflected in an Anish Kapoor sculpture during the Final Four at AT&T Stadium.
Photo: Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys ©James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys.

Whitfield, who now gives guided tours of the stadium’s collection, said of the experience: “Artists are a different group… They really don’t care if you have a blue shoe or a green shoe on. They really don’t. They don’t care if you’re tall, handsome or not handsome. They care about the passion you have for art.”

Jerry Jones’s wife, Gene, told NBC that they even receive inquiries from local galleries who have heard about Whitfield’s talent for installation and making artists feel at home—but his passion for the team keeps him tied to Cowboys Art Program.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics