By STEVE KRAH
Jay Weinberg learned he had an artistic side when he was a little boy growing up in Knox.
“I was 8 and I made this sketch,” says Weinberg three decades later. “Someone asked, ‘did you do that?’ and I was hooked.”
Even before then, Weinberg got hooked on a certain baseball team. He couldn’t help it. Everyone in his family — it seemed — were Chicago Cubs fans.
Father Jerry, who now lives in North Judson, mother Mary Lorenz and stepfather Mary Lorenz, who reside in LaPorte, brother David Weinberg, who lives across the street from Wrigley Field in Chicago, and sister Michelle Downs, who calls Knox home, are all big supports of the Cubbies.
Jay recalls growing up looking with Cubs mural with players from the 1980’s, which probably helped fuel his love for art and the Chicago National League Ball Club.
When Jay moved to started attending Valparaiso High School, where he would graduate in 1997, he spent a lot of his time watching or listening to the Boys in Blue. He especially enjoyed listening to Ron Santo, color man to play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes.
“Ron Santo was always one of my favorites,” says Weinberg. “I’ll be the first to admit that after Ron died (in 2010 due to complications of bladder cancer and diabetes, two years before his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame), I lost a little bit of it.”
Weinberg never lost his love of creativity. He commuted from Valpo to the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He took the skills gained there to create works in many formats. He also made music with a band called The Energy Commission with songs ranging from pop to swing to hip hop. He’s also a personal trainer, marketer, videographer and entrepreneur (he’s the founder of the artunityapp).
“My thing is to creatively communicate whatever is on my mind or in my heart at the time,” says Weinberg. “I don’t have a specific style.”
He has done paintings of Santo for family members and a chance to raise funds for the Ron Santo Foundation.
When the Cubs snapped their 108-year drought and won the 2016 World Series, Weinberg had to commemorate the moment with a piece of art. He did a few and girlfriend Kelly Carey suggested they be listed on the Valparaiso Garage Sale Facebook page.
“Ten seconds after I posted, the first 10 spoken for,” Weinberg said. The post drew more than 500 comments from all over the globe. “It was really humbling experience for sure.”
Weinberg will never forget Game 7 of the World Series. While Kelly was asleep in the next room, Jay was in front of the TV and all kinds of nervous.
“I was jumping up and down and biting my nails,” says Weinberg.
Emotion really poured out a few days before Christmas when the family was gathered in the basement at his sister Michelle’s house. That’s when Jerry Weinberg got his copy of the Cubs painting, which he calls “Field of Dreams.” (“paint it and they will come.”)
Tears flowed while Jay captured the moment on his camera.
“I taught you well,” Jerry said to his son that December day.
After that, the video went viral and wound up on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Jay has also entered a contest to have his father be one of the World Series ring bearers on April 10 at Wrigley. That date happens to be Jerry’s 66th birthday.
“That’s serendipity,” says Jay Weinberg. “The stars are aligning.”
Weinberg will be selling and signing prints of that painting plus an embellished limited edition canvas from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe, 122 S. Michigan, South Bend.
One of the limited edition embellished canvas “Field of Dreams” paintings will be on sale by artist Jay Weinberg Saturday, Feb. 18 in South Bend. He will also sell and sign prints of the artwork.