Bayview Park to be canvas for artist Mwanel Pierre-Louis

Art And Culture

The basketball courts at Bayview Park in Erie’s West Bayfront neighborhood will soon get a new coat of paint — but not the kind you might imagine.

Florida artist Mwanel Pierre-Louis won’t be drawing new baselines or sidelines or an arcing three-point line. Instead, he’ll transform the two courts into an 11,000 square-foot mural that’s been commissioned by Erie Arts & Culture, Executive Director Patrick Fisher announced Monday.

This is an aerial photo of Bayview Park in Erie's west bayfront neighborhood. Florida-based artist Mwanel Pierre-Louis will design a mural for the courts, which will be painted in September.

“There are examples of basketball court murals throughout the nation,” Fisher said. “They’re a great way to add some vibrancy to the existing blacktop and create some accessible public art in a place where people might not expect to see art. If you’ve ever been down to the Bayview courts in the summertime, you know that they’re extremely heavily used. They’re one of the courts that the Spoon’s League plays on. That court as a whole is quite popular with the neighborhood youth and adults alike.”

The mural won’t impact the use of the courts, Fisher said.

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Miami, Florida, artist Mwanel Pierre-Louis will design and paint an 11,000-square-foot mural on the basketball courts at Bayview Park in Erie.

A design has not yet been chosen, but Fisher said that Erie Arts & Culture and members of its CHROMA Guild (Creative Hub of Resources and Opportunities for Multicultural Artists) have provided images to the artist to help inform his work.

“Members of the CHROMA Guild have been conducting some community engagement so that we can gather some community input that can maybe help inform his design,” he said. “We’ve also collected some historic images of individuals who achieved some greatness in either their athletics career or through their community leadership and used to play on that court either as youth or young adults. All of that has been sent to him, but there’s no guarantee that imagery will find its way into the design.”

In terms of its size, Fisher said it will be slightly smaller than the 12,000-square-foot mural that was painted on the second-story observation deck of the Bicentennial Tower in 2019 by artist Rafael Gerlach, who goes by the name SatOne.

More:Artist SatOne completes mural at Erie’s Dobbins Landing

Community support made the project possible

This is a photo of the painting "Lifesavers" by Miami, Florida-based artist Mwanel Pierre-Louis, who has been selected to create a mural for the basketball courts at Bayview Park in Erie.

Erie Arts & Culture has been working on the project with Anna Frantz, the director of the Our West Bayfront neighborhood association, Erie City Councilman Mel Witherspoon, the founder of Spoon’s Summer League, and Dave Mulvihill, director of public works for the city of Erie.

Erie Arts & Culture will use a donation from Brian and Linda (Hoehn) Graff, which was made during Erie Gives 2020, to help pay for the project. The Graff’s 2019 Erie Gives donation to Erie Arts & Culture funded the eight-story, photorealistic portrait mural on the west side of Methodist Towers at 160 W. Eighth St. The mural depicts Methodist Towers resident Rudolph “Rudy” Daniels.”We support public art because it is fun, unexpected, and makes people smile,” Linda Graff said in a statement from the non-profit. “We are also excited about the opportunities public art offers to local artists to display and develop their art while making Erie a more engaging place to live.

Another public mural:Mural by artist Evoca1 features Methodist Towers resident

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Also supporting the mural project are the Erie Insurance Group, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development through the Neighborhood Assistance Program, and a special grant from the Erie Community Foundation.

Two members of Erie Arts & Culture’s CHROMA Guild will assist Pierre-Louis in the project. They will be paid for their work, which will give them an opportunity to learn the art of mural-making directly from Pierre-Louis, Fisher said.