DRIVE PAINTING! New Non-Profit Adds Color to Arcata’s Shay Park Basketball Court | Lost Coast Outpost
If you’ve been around Foster and Alliance this week, you’ve probably noticed a team of people adding color to the newly set up basketball court in Shay Park. The frescoed courtyard is the first project carried out by REBOUND – a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming basketball courts into colorful works of art.
A DreamMaker Project of Ink People Center for the Arts, REBOUND was founded late last year by local artist and educator Benjamin Funke, with the aim of helping beautify the community, while supporting two of his passions: art and basketball. .
“The only type of art that we can really appreciate right now is the outdoor stuff,” Funke told the Outpost Wednesday, while painting the cement yard. “Eureka is organizing the Street Art Festival and it’s very popular. But no one was making basketball courts. So, [I thought] let’s try that… And I’m really into basketball and I’m really into the art. So it’s a nice way to merge those two things.
After receiving a Grant from the Artists’ Resilience Fund (FAR) last year, Funke was ready for REBOUND to paint his first short. Funke contacted the City of Arcata, and after considering various options, Funke and the City moved to the Shay Park lot. Because it was installed fairly recently, the concrete in the yard is in great condition – the perfect canvas for a mural. Plus, it’s only half a pitch, which Funke and city staff say would be a good first experience.
Ended Wednesday night at nine o’clock artists and volunteers, the mural consists of abstract spots of bright colors painted around the courtyard key and another separate mural on a square courtyard. The REBOUND artists also painted the concrete planter that borders the front of the park. Then, said Funke, city workers will sand and lightly wash off the paint before some artists return to apply a non-slip sealer – which will protect players from slipping if the pitch gets wet and also protect the paint from chipping. Funke said the artwork is expected to last up to five years.
The colorful makeover was approved by Arcata’s Parks and Recreation committee as part of the city’s larger renovation plans for Shay Park. The first step was the addition of the basketball court, which was installed in the fall of 2020 (although the lines for the court were added just a few months ago) and now the painting of the court. Heather Schmidt, recreation supervisor for the city of Arcata, told the outpost that the next phase of renovations will include installing exercise equipment on the east side of the grounds, redesigning the landscaping with native plants and the addition of tables and seats.
Schmidt is really pleased with the outcome of the project, which not only contributes to the effort to beautify the parks of the city of Arcata, but is also in line with the city’s goals of adding more art to the public landscape. “Public art is a high priority for the city right now and we hope to see more projects like this in the near future,” Schmidt said.
Funke is also very happy with the outcome of REBOUND’s first project and said the artists have only received positive feedback from the community so far. While they were working, people were walking, riding or driving and shouting things like “Sounds awesome!” Keep up the good work, ”said Funke.
As for future REBOUND projects, Funke says they have “some irons in the fire” at the moment. Assuming all goes according to plan, Funke expects to paint a few more courts in the area very soon. In the future, Funke hopes to expand the association’s efforts to other spaces, including skate parks and baseball diamonds.
The great thing about REBOUND’s efforts, said Funke, is that it’s a relatively easy and inexpensive way to improve the community. For the Shay Park project, the City of Arcata provided only the sealer and REBOUND used the FAR grant money to purchase the painting and pay the artists. Besides helping to add dynamism to the community, the REBOUND project also aims to support local artists, Funke said, adding that paying them for their work was very important to him.
“If we get artists to work with us, everyone benefits,” Funke said. “The community benefits from a colorful work of art, the city benefits too, and the [artists] enjoy not only being involved, but also getting paid to help.
The Shay Park basketball court – located on Foster Avenue just east of Alliance – will reopen for the public to shoot a basket (or play foursquare!) On Saturday, September 18.