Tech hoops for men team up with Art in the Paint – Technical
UnitedHealthcare, Art in the Paint and members of the Tech Men’s Basketball Team joined forces to give back to the community on September 9. The event unveiled a newly renovated and beautified court and offered a free basketball clinic for children in the local community. The new ground is located at Rose Circle Park, near the West End Beltline, and the event is part of a larger initiative to create safe spaces for exercise in underserved communities.
Art in the Paint is a local organization whose primary goal is to strengthen community and public health through community art. They strive to find spaces that need to be revitalized before connecting artists, community leaders and funding to improve and beautify the space.
From their website, artinthepaint.org, they identify three fundamental problems that they aim to solve with their work.
Dangerous court conditions and the lack of proximity to community resources are two major issues, but the second issue listed on the site is most directly helped by the courts coated with murals.
The website describes this problem saying, “Communities are often in the midst of food deserts and have little or no access to healthy food, exercise classes / groups and uplifting messages.
They aim to address these issues by physically repairing the courts, installing social justice murals at each project site and working locally to “create programs and bring resources to the community directly”.
UnitedHealthcare funded this project, donating $ 25,000 and sending representatives to help inaugurate the new court. Dr Toyosi Okurounmu, Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare of Georgia, was on hand to provide health and wellness advice to community members in attendance.
The artist whose mural covered the yard is local muralist Elaine Stephenson. She previously worked for the West End and presented work in other notable areas of Atlanta including Old Fourth Ward and Atlantic Station. Her art and information is available on her website, elainestephenson.com.
Part of the Art in the Paint process is to include local community leaders in the installation and unveiling, with two members of Tech’s men’s basketball team filling that role for this event. Senior guard Michael Devoe and senior forward Jordan Usher joined in the dedication ceremony and went on to run the basketball clinic for a handful of local kids. Junior guard Coleman Boyd was originally scheduled to be in attendance as well, but didn’t appear to be able to attend the event.
The players coached the kids for a while at the clinic, doing drills in various skills. Devoe and Usher, arguably Tech’s two best returning players, are solid picks for the event as athletes and community leaders. With their faces on billboards across Atlanta during basketball season, they are elite athletes and recognizable venues in local sports.
They both seemed to appreciate the opportunity to give back to the community. Usher in particular spoke of the impact of the event, saying, “UnitedHealthcare and Art in the Paint are doing something huge. Not only do we have a renovated field for playing, but [also] one that is painted and looks gorgeous.
Usher shared Art in the Paint’s concern about access to sports facilities.
“It’s always a plus when you can go out on open ground with your friends, and it makes it even better and smoother when it’s as beautiful as this one,” Usher said.
UnitedHealthcare distributed safety kits at the event, containing hand sanitizer, wipes and other products that can help the health of the community. The kits will allow the community to stay safe on and off the field and to benefit from the recent investment in their space.
Devoe and Usher took the time to take photos with the kids and the organizers during the event, helping to raise awareness of the project. Organizers, community members and players enjoyed the event, and Rose Circle Park is now home to a new, well-maintained grounds with a mural.