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Statesville, NC

The Basketball Courts At Garfield Park Undergoing Transformation

Posted by 
Kim McKinney
Kim McKinney
A new piece of usable art for Garfield Park.Photo by Kim McKinney

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." - Edgar Degas

Friday morning they were just two concrete basketball courts. Drab grey with white lines, surrounded by a gate. A cornerstone of Garfield Park, located at 409 Garfield St., not too far from downtown Statesville. Well used basketball courts, but certainly nothing special.

That's changing this weekend. Mural artist Georgie Nakima and her apprentice Tiara Mitchell will be changing those courts into a piece of usable art.

Nakima, a Charlotte artist, has created art on a basketball court before. Last year she provided the design for the refurbished basketball court at the McCrorey YMCA in Charlotte. It was funded by the video game NBA 2K Foundations program.

For the Statesville project, Nakima is very aware of what she wants her design to convey. She wants it to have a futuristic bent.

"When you have art that is futuristic, it adds some context to where we're going," -Georgie Nakima.
The design by Nakima for the basketball courtsPhoto by Kim McKinney

She thought about the kids and adults who will be playing basketball on this court and how they, and Statesville as a whole, needs to keep moving forward to meet challenges.

"Progressive settings inspire progressive thinking." - Georgie Nakima.

Nakima was one of five muralists included in Elle magazine's feature "The Female Muralists Behind Black Lives Matter's Most Visceral Imagery". In that article she discussed how she wants her art to be "a reminder that we remain uplifted, resilient, and divinely intrinsic to this life."

"When you see my art, you see a reflection of yourself because it carries an ancient, futuristic antidote that resonates beyond color or creed." - Georgie Nakima - in Elle magazine
Nakima (r) and Harris (l) begin workPhoto by Kim McKinney

Garden of Journey is the name under which her art is branded and looking at her work you see that name come alive. More of her work can be seen at her website and on her Instagram account.

Mitchell has been working with Nakima for about a month as her apprentice and assistant. She is an art student at UNC-C, where she met Nakima through a seminar. She plans to pursue all kinds of art upon graduating, but wants to include murals also.

The mural project is being funded by a donation from Grace Baptist Church, a grant from the Grassroots Art Program, and a gift from the Reemprise Fund. The Iredell Arts Council has been the catalyst for pulling this community art project together.

Garfield Park is a two-acre park supported by the Statesville Recreation & Parks Department. Besides the basketball courts, the park includes a shelter, restrooms (open only during shelter rentals), and a playground.

Soon it will boast a very special mural.

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