Articles

Turning Basketball Courts Into Works of Art

September 7, 2019


– [Dan] In a lot of neighborhoods, the public park is the
center of the community and the basketball court is
the center of that public park. Oftentimes, these courts,
they’re in rough shape. There’s courts where
either there’s no lines or where there’s large gaps and cracks in the court’s surface. There can be huge dips
that would be unsafe, hazardous to play on. So seein’ all these courts across the city inspired me to renovate public
outdoor basketball courts and collaborate with artists to create unique works
of art for the surface. – [Karo] I pretty much played
at this court my whole life. It was a no-brainer for me. Like, I jumped at the opportunity
to be able to come down and help paint and give
back to the community. (classical music) – [Dan] Lincoln Park is
a special court for me because I actually used to
play here when I was in school. All my siblings grew up
playing on this court, and so this court’s
been a long time coming. The actual process of renovating the court typically takes about two weeks, and usually they’ll hire
a local contracting crew to do any crack fill or patch repair. And then after they’ve done that, we come in once the
court has been resurfaced to get the artwork down
and be ready for lines. Since starting Project Backboard
three and a half years ago, we worked on over two dozen
courts around the world. One of the most fun parts is working with community
volunteers on the court painting. You’re gonna start at the tape line and we’re gonna work our way backwards. You know, the basketball court, for me, was always a place where you learned to be an engaged citizen. It’s where you met your neighbors and kind of got together
for a common purpose. And I think, too often, people
think of basketball courts as a nuisance, when really it is a spot that can really bring people
and communities together. – [Karo] Before this, it was
cracks all over the court, graffiti everywhere,
definitely in bad shape. Giving back to the community
kind of speaks to me because this is my first time kind of being involved
in a project like this, and it definitely inspires other kids due to the fact that, you know, the younger generation always looks up to the older generation. They see you giving back, it
will inspire them to give back. (basketball net swishing) Being able to step on a new
renovated court is pretty dope. You know, know it seems small,
just a basketball court, but, you know, it’s a lot more than that. Everyone comes out. People get off work. Got people who don’t
even live in New Rochelle who come over here to watch the games, so definitely just the little
things helps out a lot. – [Dan] This didn’t
start as an art project. It didn’t start as a way
to bring art into parks. But I think I recognize
that it’s really important for me to inspire and help others do this in their own communities. You know, I want people to feel like I can make a difference in my community. Maybe I’m not painting an
entire basketball court. Maybe I’m just buying new nets and hanging them when they fall down. Maybe I’m just picking up the trash. You know, whatever it is, it’s,
if you care about your park, you care about your basketball
court, take care of it. (basketball net swishing) (classical music)

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