If you’ve been near Foster and Alliance this week, you’ve likely noticed a crew of folks adding some color to the recently installed basketball court in Shay Park. The mural-covered court is the first project to be completed by REBOUND — a non-profit dedicated to transforming basketball courts into colorful works of art.
A DreamMaker project of the Ink People Center for the Arts, REBOUND was founded late last year by local artist and educator Benjamin Funke, as a way to help beautify the community, while supporting two of his passions: art and basketball.
“The only type of art we can really enjoy at the moment is outdoor stuff,” Funke told the Outpost on Wednesday, as he was painting the cement court. “Eureka’s got the Street Art Festival and it’s hugely popular. But no one was doing basketball courts. So, [I thought] let’s give that a try… And I’m really into basketball and I’m really into art. So it’s a nice way to merge those two things.”
After receiving a Funds for Artists’ Resilience (FAR) Grant last year, Funke was ready for REBOUND to paint its first court. Funke reached out to the City of Arcata and, after looking at some different options, Funke and the City settled on the Shay Park court. Because it was pretty recently installed, the court’s concrete is in great condition — the perfect canvas for a mural. Also, it is only a half court, which Funke and city staff thought would make for a good first experiment.
Completed on Wednesday evening by nine artists and volunteers, the mural consists of abstract patches of bold colors painted around the court’s key and another separate mural on a foursquare court. The REBOUND artists also painted the concrete planter that lines the front of the park. Next, Funke said, workers from the city will lightly sand and wash the paint before some of the artists return to apply an anti-slip sealant — which will protect the players from slipping if the court gets wet and also protect the paint from chipping. Funke said the artwork should last up to five years.
The colorful makeover was approved by Arcata’s Parks and Recreation Committee as a part of the city’s larger renovation plans for Shay Park. The first step was adding the basketball court, which was installed in the fall of 2020 (though the court lines 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 renovation will include installing exercise equipment to the east side of the court, redoing the landscaping with native plants and adding tables and seating.
Schmidt is really pleased with the outcome of the project, which not only helps with the effort to spruce up Arcata’s city parks but is also in line with the City’s goals to add 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 really happy with how REBOUND’s first project turned out and said that the artists have received nothing but positive feedback from the community, so far. As they were working people would walk, ride or drive by and yell out things like “Looks great! Keep up the good work,” Funke said.
As for future REBOUND projects, Funke says that they have a “few irons in the fire” right now. Assuming that everything goes according to plan, Funke expects to be painting a couple more courts in the area very soon. In the future Funke hopes to expand the non-profit’s efforts to other spaces, including skateparks and baseball fields.
The great thing about REBOUND’s efforts, Funke said, is that it is a relatively cheap and simple way to improve the community. For the Shay Park
project, the City of Arcata only contributed the sealant and REBOUND
used money from the FAR grant to purchase the paint and pay the artists.
In addition to helping add vibrancy to the community, the REBOUND
project also aims to support local artists, Funke said, adding that
paying them for their work is very important to him.
“If we’re bringing in artists to work with us, everyone benefits,” Funke said. “The community benefits from having a colorful work of art, the city also benefits from that, and the [artists] benefit from not only being involved, but also from being paid to help out.”
The Shay Park basketball court — located on Foster Avenue, just east of Alliance — will reopen for the public to shoot hoops (or play foursquare!) on Saturday, Sep. 18.