Basketball courts

Murals appear on basketball courts around Rochester in New York

Basketball is considered an art form by many. Denzel Washington’s character in the basketball movie “He Got Game” said, “Basketball is like poetry in motion.”

In Rochester, art meets basketball on the playing field, as games are played over vivid paintings in artwork provided by Peculiar Asphalt.

Peculiar Asphalt is a city of Rochester youth mural art program under the direction of local artist Brittany Williams and six youth that focuses on creating wall art on basketball courts of the city of Rochester parks.

Brittany Williams was born and raised in Rochester, attending Churchville-Chile High School, where she played basketball. After graduating, Williams received a four-year scholarship to play basketball at the University of Maine. After her time there, Brittany decided to cultivate a different career from a longtime hobby.

“After my college career was over, I decided to give up playing overseas and consider becoming an artist,” Williams said.

Brittany practiced art in her spare time during her youth, drawing on magazines or Democrat and Chronicle, imitating people and characters. Eventually, Williams took art illustration and AP art classes in high school.

Ever since deciding to take art seriously as an adult, Williams has been involved in Rochester’s Wall / Therapy, an arts and community intervention project, using public murals as a way to transform the cityscape.

She also presented her work in Berlin at the German Urban Nation Museum for Contemporary Urban Art.

With Peculiar Asphalt, Brittany hopes that art can beautify the neighborhoods of Rochester.

“Basketball courts are used a lot in Rochester, especially the outdoor courts,” said Williams. “These courts are often a gathering place for black and brown communities, but the courts are in terrible shape. So I thought, why not do a favor and restore these courts in a fun way.”

Peculiar Asphalt, a summer mural art program for Rochester youth, has created eight murals on basketball courts since 2019. This is an aerial view of that of Carter Street R-Center .

The murals are designed collaboratively by the youth program staff after first reviewing the court conditions, before determining which theme is most suitable.

The team then sketches out ideas, finalizes the concept and designs basketballs to give to the children who come to the courts.

According to a study on the urban scourge conducted by the National Center for Healthy Housing, conditions in residences and the surrounding neighborhood have a profound impact on health.

Peculiar Asphalt hopes to alleviate urban decline with his inventive paintings.

“Feedback has always been positive from the community,” said Williams. “A lot of times people don’t expect something so creative to happen on something that has been overlooked for so long. I hope this project can get people thinking more creatively about it. ‘improving those spaces. It’s impactful when you show these kids that they matter. “

The City of Rochester is working with Peculiar Asphalt to help hire young people, provide work clothes, food and art supplies, and acquire land to paint.

“The majority of courts are in predominantly black and brown neighborhoods,” said Brittany Williams. “These courts tend to be in need of improvement the most.”

Summer 2021 was Peculiar Asphalt’s third season to create murals. Eight courts have produced works of art that add creativity and imagination to each neighborhood. For Williams, expansion is the only way forward for the program.

“Hopefully we can continue to paint more parks around Rochester,” Williams said. “Maybe we can paint a short interior one day.”

Asphalt murals are located in these eight locations:

• Marketview Lodge – 136 1st St.

• Tacoma Park – 185 Glenwood Avenue.

• South Avenue Recreation Center – 999 South Ave.

• Carter Street Recreation Center – 500 Carter Street.

• Bronson Avenue playground – 15, rue Cady

• Enrico Fermi School n ° 17 – 158, rue Orchard.

• David F. Gantt Recreation Center – 700, rue Nord.

• Campbell Street Recreation Center – 524 Campbell Street.

Contact Robert Bell at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @byrobbell & Instagram: @byrobbell. This coverage is only possible with the support of our readers.