Hard in the Paint


Title: Hard in the Paint Aerial Photo
Photo Credit: Jesse Abbruzzese
Lead Artist(s):
Maria Molteni


Hard in the Paint, Harambee Park is a public basketball court makeover in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, the culmination of Molteni's Boston AIR residency through the City of Boston with the BCYF Perkins Community Center. For 11 months, Molteni worked with youth and teens from the neighborhood, hosting after school workshops on art, athletics, public space and social justice. The final 20,000 square foot basketball court mural, painted collaboratively over 2 weeks in June, exhibits shapes, colors and marks found in the students' own drawings of their dream basketball courts which were also displayed publicly during the painting process. In response to the courts centerpiece "Boston's Got Wings" (originally painted by Redbull referencing their slogan “Redbull gives you wings”), neighbors were asked “What do YOU think Boston's Got?" Their answers served as a reclamation of this existing half-court feature. Such multilingual phrases were compiled in a community zine and referenced in the intricate court patterns.

Molteni organized and directed two weeks of structured and improvisational painting completed by a team of adult artist colleagues, hired teen girls from the Perkins center, and daily drop-in participants from the community. Chalkboards attached to the surrounding fence also invited passersby to sketch their ideas and submit “requests” for imagery to be painted in real time. The free-form painting language of the court activates the margins of the space and opens it to a wider array of neighbors. The court was completed on the 125th anniversary of the invention of basketball in Massachusetts and the 125th anniversary of the founding of Franklin Field, now Harambee Park. An excellent team of professional local artists and teachers aided Molteni in the final designs, painting and facilitation of open community paint days: Randi Shandroski, Kristine Roan, Kevin Clancy, Natanja Driscoll, Silvi Naci, Gustavo Barceloni, Ali Reid, Jena Tegeler, Xray Aims, Francisco Ormaza, Camila McCarthy, Lucas Hall. Special Thanks to Raymond Heath, Sa'mya Givan, Karin Goodfellow, Christian Guerra, Sharon Kavai, Julie Burros, The Codman Square Neighborhood Council, Mr. Al, Troy Smith, Miss Michelle, Mister Sherman, Miss Kiya, Mister Kyrone, Miss, Unique, Miss Charisse, and all of our amazing students from Perkins.


Community Center
Public Space
The project is located in a public park, on the ground of a basketball court.
Harambee Park
930 Blue Hill Ave
Boston, MA 02124
United States

click the map to enlarge

Boston Art Commission

Floor/Surfaces, Mural, Painting
Mural, Painting