Sept. 14, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Two badly worn basketball courts at a public park in Long Island City have been given a colorful makeover.
The two courts, which are situated on the western side of Murray Park – located between 11th Street and 21st Street – have undergone repair work and have been resurfaced with vibrant designs created by an artist from the local art institute MoMA PS1.
The revamp began in July and was completed last month by Project Backboard, a non-profit group that revitalizes public basketball courts throughout the country. The group partnered with the Parks Dept. and Five Star Basketball, a Westchester county-based organization that organizes basketball camps for youths throughout the state.
The total cost of the transformation was $140,000, which was funded entirely by Five Star Basketball.
The project consisted of tearing up the old asphalt surface and replacing it with a new one. The new surfaces were then painted in various blue and green-colored tones, while the northernmost court was also given yellow colors.
The backboards on the courts were also replaced. News of the project was first reported by LICTalk.
Dan Peterson, a director at Project Blackboard, said that revitalizing courts in unconventional designs helps attract more people to the spaces.
“[It] invites a different mix of users to gather in the spaces,” Peterson said. “We have seen more women and families on courts renovated with the artwork.”
Project Blackboard has undertaken similar projects in California, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida.
The designs for the Murray Park courts were created by the artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, a member of the Cheyenne Indigenous people of the Great Plains and board member of MoMA PS1.
The artwork is derived from the artist’s neuf series paintings called “Neufs For Hawaii.” The series advocates for indigenous communities around the world.
MoMA PS1 will host an event at the courts on Oct. 1. to celebrate the artwork The event will feature basketball-related activities and art-making workshops.
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