On Friday, the Old City gallery Arch Enemy Arts will launch a new exhibit, Take a Knee Pad, supporting Colin Kaepernick's sideline protest.

The installation, featuring 28 painted kneepads designed by more than two dozen artists, opens just days after the Nike revelation that former 49ers quarterback Kaepernick is to serve as the face of the brand's new "Just Do It" anniversary campaign.

"We want to show support for Kaepernick and for the other peaceful protesters out there who are speaking up about police brutality against the black community," said Patrick Shillenn, director of Arch Enemy Arts.

Take a Knee Pad, at Arch Enemy Arts, features more than two dozen artists’ creations, some in football formation.
PHOTO COURTESY Arch Enemy Arts
Take a Knee Pad, at Arch Enemy Arts, features more than two dozen artists’ creations, some in football formation.

The football star famously began taking a knee before kickoff during the national anthem. That sparked a wave of other players following his lead and led to his exile from the NFL.

The exhibition, on view through Sept. 29, will feature 22 kneepads in a display representing a football team in formation. Some of the artists' designs include  phrases like "black lives matter" and "if you're offended by peaceful protest, you're on the wrong side of history." Others are more abstract.

A kneepad designed by graffiti artist MECRO.
PHOTO COURTESY Arch Enemy Arts
A kneepad designed by graffiti artist MECRO.

"My plan is to simply turn the pads from white to black, symbolizing black lives being lost by unapologetic white people in police uniforms," says Russel Craig, one of the artists. "I don't want any noise detracting from the message. We all know these issues."

An online auction that's scheduled to be open throughout the exhibition, takeakneepad.art, will let people bid to purchase the kneepads. Proceeds will be divided between Campaign Zero, supporting police reform, and the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, supporting young people in underserved communities.

"I've created a heart that says HEAR ME, to speak to Malcolm's statement 'You aren't listening'," said Philadelphia street artist Amberella, known for her 3D hearts that are wheat-pasted throughout the city. "It's bold and self-explanatory — HEAR HIM."

Jenkins has been voicing his "You aren't listening" message in a series of posters, initially at his silent news conference in June after the Eagles were disinvited to the White House by President Trump.

"We just want to represent the actual message behind these peaceful protests, not the distorted message that gets put out there by critics," Shillenn said. "We hope to acquire and build a showing of support for this across Philadelphia."

Take a Knee Pad opening party, 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Arch Enemy Arts, 111 Arch St. Exhibit continues noon-5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (and by appointment) through Sept. 29. It is presented in collaboration with the ResidNYC, a creative collective in New York. .