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[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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Turning Basketball Courts Into Works of Art

1420 Folder Collection
Evangeline published on December 1, 2018    Amber Li translated    Evangeline reviewed
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