Florence art group turning basketball courts into murals

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 8:33 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - A few community basketball courts in the Pee Dee are getting a makeover as part of an effort to bring the community together and give new life to city parks.

Artist Ashley O. Davis and organizer Shelanda Deas started Canvas the Courts after seeing others revitalize urban neighborhoods by painting basketball courts.

They reached out to city leaders to get permission to create similar projects in Florence.

This past weekend, the sound of basketballs was replaced by the sound of the community joyfully turning the courts at Northwest Community Park into art murals.

“We wanted to bring this to the community to bring unity within and beautify, and so this is just one way to beautify our community and bring people together and bring warmth and love back into our neighborhood,” Deas said.

The basketball court renaissance isn’t ending at Northwest Community Park. Canvas the Courts will host similar projects at Iola Jones Park and Levy Park in the future.

The designs behind each court are based on the area’s high schools: West Florence, Wilson, and South Florence.

“They’re colors that represent what we’re proud of, so this is of course West Florence, and then when we get to Wilson which I graduated from, we’ll be using that purple and gold so I’m excited about that,” Davis said.

Les Echols with the non-profit Mingle of the Pee Dee was one of many people who helped Canvas the Courts with the project.

Echols said it’s great to see people come together and benefit the city of Florence in a positive way.

“It’s beautiful to see the entire community getting together, the looks of the kids’ faces and the talented artists who are right in our community who are doing work to build our community,” Echols said.

Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin helped paint the courts at Northwest Park.

She believes these projects are going to bring other people in to see the exciting things taking place in Florence.

“When you come to the city of Florence we want you to see a beautiful city, and the artwork in the parks brings the city together and it helps people be a part of the soul of the city,” Ervin said.

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