Courting the Sky! New Bedford/”Whaling City”Basketball Court Mural
Clasky Common Park // Curated by JR Uretsky with the New Bedford Art Museum, MA
Courting the Sky is the 4th of 5 basketball court murals completed in Massachusetts by the New Craft Artists in Action + lead artist Maria Molteni.
There are many layers to “Courting the Sky” but it’s ultimately about connecting the mysteries of the sea and sky, thinking about scale, history, messaging from a great distance, and looking under your nose for answers even when you think they’re “out there”
Inspired by the rich but also dark history of whaling in New Bedford, the city by which Moby Dick was written, we talked with neighbors about how basketball courts are as large as some whales, so large you could see them from an airplane or satellite in the sky! We taught young ones who are learning to write about the Nautical Flag messaging systems that ships used to communicate from great distances. There is one flag for each letter of the alphabet, so they helped us write secret messages into the court. Our prompt asked “What might whales, so deep in the ocean, want to tell people/creatures way up in the sky?” Answers included “What’s up? What’s down?” - basically kidspeak for the iconic phrase “As Above, So Below” which we decided to include. Lastly, there is a Herman Melville quote “Consider them both the sea and the land” but we changed “land” to “sky”
Artists who worked with Molteni and the New Craft Artists in Action on this project:
Coe Lapossy, Kah Yangni, Eli Brown, Laura Ganci, Isabel Mattia, Ali Reid, Marcella Gallegos, Shterna Goldbloom