Local artists are transforming the basketball court at Gastonia’s Erwin Park into a mural to honor the Black Lives Matter movement. The 114 x 50-foot basketball court will feature the words “Black Lives Matter” in the center of the court in white letters. Local artists will add color to the “Black Lives Matter” lettering later in the week. Community members will be invited to add their handprints onto the outer perimeter of the court on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28.
Ezekiel Clay, Jr., a local professional artist, approached Mayor Walker Reid with a proposal for the mural that was unanimously approved by City Council at its June 2 meeting. Clay’s proposal was given to the City in response to the Black community calling for the mural and following Black Lives Matter murals being painted in other cities across the country. The hope is that more positive attention will also be brought to the Erwin Center/Highland Community area of the City.
“We see the mural as another way to bring our community together,” said Mayor Walker Reid III. “It is important for everyone to come together during this time and express their creativity in support of a timely issue in our country.”
Youth and community groups interested in the project can contact Ezekiel Clay, Jr. through his Facebook page.
The basketball court was scheduled to be refurbished and painted this summer, and City funds already had been allocated for that purpose. No additional City money is being spent to create the mural. Carolina Courtworks provided the white, black and blue paint. The company also rearranged its schedule to fast-track the work at Erwin Center after the City Council approved the mural project June 16. Artists and interested individuals have donated additional supplies and their time.
- Carolina Courtworks has painted the full court black, added color coats to outside of the court, inside three-point line, key and court lines. The half court line and center circle will not be painted.
- The area inside the three-point line will be painted two shades of blue.
- The area outside the basketball court will be painted competition gray.
- Local artists will paint the words “Black Lives Matter” in the center circle of the court on Thursday, June 25 and add inspired art to the 8-feet-tall letters on Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27.
- Artists will assist community members to add their handprints to the area around the exterior (gray area) of the court.
- Painting schedule will depend on weather.
- Attendees will be required to wear face coverings and follow social distancing restrictions.
- Erwin Park address: 913 N. Pryor Street, Gastonia, North Carolina