Already engaged in the Rose City mural in downtown Springfield at the time, Houser tried to schedule this mural as part of Project Jericho’s annual summer art camp. The coronavirus pandemic forced the camp to be canceled, but both sides considered how to create the mural while adhering to social distancing and health guidelines, including wearing masks while painting.
“The murals are part of our annual program,” Houser said. “We have a desire to see communities prosper. “
Cera Marie, who has been working with the program for five years, came up with several design options to be done quickly and adapted to all skill levels so that the job lasts for several years. They were lucky to have good weather to work.
The project was supported by the Ohio Arts Council and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Several children from The Jericho Project were excited to return to live art after months of working online. Even though the call came at the last minute, Genesis Lewis jumped at the chance.
“It’s so much prettier. It reminds me of a kaleidoscope, ”she said of the court.
Marshall, who lives on Woodward Avenue, secured the two lots that contained houses that were demolished. After their elimination, The Conscious Connect added disc golf, one of its book and bench lending libraries.
After asking the neighbors what would be a good addition, they suggested a basketball court, installed in 2019. Instead of a common concrete court, it can now be admired in multiple ways.
“So many works of art that children cannot touch. It speaks to our participants. There aren’t many areas where athletes and the art world have worked together, ”said Limes, Project Jericho’s success coordinator.
Although not on the court, Mary Anne Riley, whose house is across the street from the park, is a basketball cheerleader. She loves watching the kids play from her porch and is involved in the neighborhood.
She bought a portable basketball hoop years ago that kids used until it broke, and was thrilled to see the new court and the work done on it.
“I absolutely adore it. I’ve been here 42 years and watch these kids all the time,” she said. “Here we’re more like family than neighbors. It’s good to see some attention here in our neighborhood.
Houser said the court would be ready on Friday, August 21. No ceremony or opening is planned.
The mural is only part of the ongoing transformation of the park. Marshall said the next phase will include adding a shelter, redesigning the steps to the park, brick pavers and a retaining wall.
“I want there to be a family atmosphere, a place where people can come together like back then,” he said.