Client: Union League Boys and Girls Club: Club One
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $50,000
Hero Flooring LLC
Partnering with artist Carlos Rolón, wood floor expert Hero Flooring LLC, Under Armour and the NBA we renovated a basketball gym Union League Boys and Girls Club: Club One in Chicago, IL. This is a companion piece with the basketball court renovation in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico and is a extension of Rolón’s studio work, installations and other projects which explores the migration of people and ideas with a focus on the two communities which have shaped him, Chicago and Puerto Rico. This court is the main site of the NBA and Under Armour’s Building Bridges Through Basketball program.
The goal of this court was to create a space that reflected the Pilsen community while at the same time encouraging gym users to think more creatively about the spaces they inhabit by infusing a function gym repair with museum quality works of art.
Carlos Rolón's studio is in the Pilsen neighborhood and the process of creating the design for the gym floor and "championship" banners began with multiple workshops with the artist and the youth from the club.
Once a "tile" motif was settled on and a design was finalized the gym floor was sanded down to raw wood. At that point the Project Backboard team, wood floor specialist Hero Flooring LLC and painters from Carlos Rolón's studio spent over two weeks hand painting the court with wood floor stain to create a massive court painting. Finally the court was striped with game lines and sealed.
To our knowledge there has been no other gym floor hand painted in this manner and with proper ongoing maintenance the art work on the gym floor can remain indefinitely.
While Project Backboard is known for outdoor court renovations this gym floor renovation pushed new boundaries of what is possible on hardwood gym floors. This project is made even more powerful because it serves as the main site location for the award winning Building Bridges Through Basketball program which brings young people from multiple neighborhoods in Chicago together with police officers and basketball coached in an informal and healthy environment that has meaningful and lasting impact in the community.