Court mural takes pickup basketball to another level

Court mural takes pickup basketball to another level
An aerial photo of the basketball court in Riverside Park shows Nicole Holderbaum’s design in full bloom. (Photo by Jim Rockenbach, Jr. /#FlyCamJax)

When players on the Riverside Park basketball court jostle “in the paint” – the foul lane near the baskets – they will be doing so literally.

In February, well-known mural artist Nicole “Nico” Holderbaum was asked by the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department to paint a mural on the 94- by 50-foot court, located off College Street, next to the John Gorrie Dog Park.

Holderbaum, founder and director of the Kids Mural Project, has been steadily painting murals all over Jacksonville since entering her project in the 2015 One Spark crowdfunding competition. She has painted more than 30 murals at Title 1 Duval County Public Schools, engaging more than 3,000 students in the process.

Her work can be seen locally on the side of the Florida Christian Apartment building in Murray Hill, on the LDI Reproprinting Center building in Brooklyn, on a fence within the St. Paul’s Catholic School playground, at Central Riverside, Ruth N. Upson, Venetia and West Riverside Elementary Schools, and now in Riverside Park. 

“The evolution of this [Kids Mural] project was to include basketball courts within communities in need, to engage the community,” said Holderbaum. “I’ve never painted a court before, so I was grateful for the opportunity to do this. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done, and the City gave me a decent amount of creative freedom with the design.”

The design is an abstract camellia, for which Holderbaum said she got her inspiration from the Men’s Garden Club’s Camellia Garden in the park. The giant camellia is an abstract, broken into geometric shapes in vivid colors. The cost of the project was about $4,000 and the funds were provided by the Parks and Recreation upgrades, maintenance and repairs account. 

Holderbaum’s goal is that every public basketball court in Jacksonville would be painted by a local artist and engage the community.

  “People are really excited and curious during the process,” she said. “It’s inspiring creativity in the community, engaging with the people who live in the area and developing relationships across city lines. It’s important to inspire youth and one of the best ways to do it is through projects like this, centered around their interests.”

Holderbaum dedicated this project to her grandmother, Gail Champion.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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