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Culture Wellness & Nature

Pelicans Support Local Artists With Exciting Basketball Court Transformation Project

Jack Rattenbury Jack Rattenbury

Pelicans Support Local Artists With Exciting Basketball Court Transformation Project

New Orleans Pelicans and Red Bull have teamed up to give NOLA’s basketball courts an artistic makeover.

Red Bull has teamed up with the New Orleans Pelicans and renowned visual artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums for #NOLAHasWiiings, a project dedicated to replacing backboards at basketball courts throughout New Orleans.

Odums is known for Studio BE the 35,000 square foot warehouse street art gallery project in Bywater. Bmike has selected eight local creatives to transform the old backboards into works of art, which was on display at the New Orleans Pelicans’ Smoothie King Center.

Credit: NOLA Has Wiiings

Odums also partaked in the project with his piece on display at Studio BE throughout the duration of the project. NOLA Has Wiiings brings artists from around the city together to celebrate, brighten and educate communities through colorful displays of art that showcase NOLA’s unrivaled ability to rebound.

Several artists got to participate, with the best designer getting the opportunity to design their own art court. New Orleans locals voted, and the winner has been announced. Monique Lorden  an artist and author and co-illustrator of “I Wish for Freedom.” Her winning backboard, “Hoops Dreams and Poetry,” is a visual story of childhood hope and community.

In her own words, “Each backboard told a story and we, the artists, created ways to retell it. Alchemy at its best. I fabricated the aluminum backboard, iron rim, and gold chain net. Using my tech skills, I installed and programmed lights finishing it off with painted contrasting lines, affirming poetry on the rim, and bright colors… I not only told my story but one that is an ode to those who dream, overcame, and those who love the game.”

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Here are all the artists that were involved in the project:

  • Ceaux, a New Orleans-born multidisciplinary artist, has created a backboard inspired by Harrell Park – located on the “Pigeon Town” side of Carrollton – and the color and playfulness that’s felt at playgrounds.
  • Ayo Scott, painter and son of nationally recognized artist John T. Scott, has created “Big Ol’ Lil Big Chief” in collaboration with Big Chief Terrence “T” Williams of the Black Hawk Hunters, which is inspired by the resilient spirit of the people of New Orleans.
  • Kara Crowley – Visual Artist, an artist who embraces black culture and positive representation in her own artistic interpretations, has created a backboard which showcases multiple hands expressing the message of unity.
  • Jessica Strahan, a self-taught painter and muralist native to and based in New Orleans, has created a backboard inspired by dance and its ability to take people through vibrant moments in time.
  • Marc Verrett / MarcFreshArt, a Baton Rouge based muralist, has created a backboard that illustrates a positive rise to overcome obstacles through imagery of a skull paired with colorful butterfly wings to represent the eternal drive to fly above.
  • Jade Meyers/THEARTISTJADE, Art director and founder of the art-based company, “J A D E 1 9 9 1,” has created a piece inspired by liberation, growing up in New Orleans, power, nature, Black culture and sports culture.
  • Bryan Brown, an artist whose work focuses on New Orleans culture, random but beautiful moments, and philosophy, has created “The Big Brain,” a representation of getting mentally healthy to unlock one’s true full potential.
  • 1985 Poet; Artist: Monique Lorden, an artist and author and co-illustrator of “I Wish for Freedom,” a poetic picture book, was inspired by her memories of hooping at the park to create “Hoops Dreams and Poetry,” a visual story of childhood hope and community.
Credit: NOLA Has Wiiings

Lorden now has the opportunity to conceptualize and design a basketball court that serves New Orleans. We’ll keep you updated with this story as the information comes.

[Featured Image: NOLA Has Wiiings]