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A Community Art meets Sport Project helping to promote the need for greater investment and engagement in grass roots basketball in the UK and specifically in the Essex region. My aim is to re-imagine an unloved, under-used and poorly maintained outdoor public basketball court in Viaduct Road Park in Chelmsford, Essex by renovating it and installing an exciting and vibrant large-scale work of art on the court and hoop surfaces, in order to reengage the community, promote the sport of basketball whilst inspiring play, health and well-being and strengthen connections through the proven benefits of exercise and engagement with the arts, culture and creativity in a public space.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Basketball is the second most popular team sport (after football) in the UK for 11-15 year olds, with 32% of children participating. 336,000 people aged 14-25 or above play basketball in the UK at least once a month - AS MANY as play cricket and golf combined. However it receives nowhere near the same funding. Basketball is extraordinarily good at engaging underprivileged communities: 18% of basketball clubs are located in the most deprived areas of the UK, DOUBLE the figure for cricket, rugby, netball or hockey clubs. Over HALF of adult participants are from ethnic minorities (BEM), more than any other major sport in The UK.Between 11-15, 40% per cent of basketball players are female, almost DOUBLE the number for football. Pound for pound, perhaps no sport does more social good in Britain. Public Art is perfect and affects communities positively, it reaches people when they’re not expecting it. By transforming public basketball courts into bold, beautiful and unique works of art.
Steps to get it done:
Each year an estimated 80 million of the 414 million litres of paint sold in the UK (retail and trade) goes to waste [enough to fill 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools]. This paint is thrown into landfill or just stored, despite over 50% of it still being usable. That bothers me! My aim whilst putting the paint to good use for our project is to waste as little of it as possible, minimising the amount of paint entering the waste stream, through careful product use and specification To use water-based paints when possible which are as effective as regular paint but contain no toxic substances. Also, it would be beneficial for the local basketball community to participate and help in painting the court art too.
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It's a wrap on court! 7 days hard work, 10 - 12 hour days, 6 volunteers (and two under 5's) working between torrential rain, blistering heat and inquisitive dogs - but it's done! I'm very Happy to present the court that you've all individually helped to create through your funding and moral support. I have a video documenting the process coming soon that I'm very excited to share with you all and the final photos to come. It's been one of the biggest challenges of my life to deliver this project but it's been worth every minute to deliver this beautiful and unique public art space for budding and future basketballers of all ages. I can't thank you enough. BBC Radio Essex popped down on the day to interview me about the project, if you'd like to have a listen you can find it here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07dzgn3 (from 52 minutes onwards).
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have had to change the location of the project. Over running building works bordering the original site means that unfortunately I am not able to deliver the project this Summer at the Viaduct Road court. I hope this dosent prove too disappointing for those of you who've supported the project so far and live and work close to this location. The good news is that we have a new and very similar site approved in Chelmer Village Green and the Council have stepped in to support by paying for line marking. We commence painting on Monday July 15th for a week. If you're local pop along any time during the week to say hello, put down a lick of paint or take some photos of the project you've helped to create. On Wednesday 17th I'll be joined by helpers on behalf of pledgers; Flawsome Drinks & Coley Porter Bell. Even better, I still have the opportunity to double back and paint the original court in Spring/Summer 2020 creating a second court for the community, so you've not only supported one court but two!....and everyone loves a Buy-one-get-one-free deal don't they? Thanks again
Thank you all for your contributions so far. Thanks to your pledges, I've ordered all the materials I need to create an Oasis of Art and Basketball in Chelmsford. I am busy beavering away in the background working hard to deliver something that I believe will be the first step in transforming neglected basketball courts across the county (and eventually the country) make a difference to our communities and benefit youths, families and connect friends - new and old; Inspiring them to be creative, social, healthy and active. I've hit a small snag with the Council but hope to be back on track very soon. Once again very much appreciated.