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Art Court on Dickson Street in Fayetteville

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Lace-up your high tops, and get ready to hoop, Fayetteville. A new court is opening next week on Dickson Street.

Art Court, the art-themed basketball court project created by the Tyson family in the old Dickson Street Theatre in Fayetteville, will officially open to the public on Thursday, August 19.

The idea behind the project was to create a decorative court and community space on the site “that would blur the boundaries of art and play.” The court, intended to be a three-year project, will be managed by Experience Fayetteville and was funded by a $236,000 Tyson Family Foundation grant.

The project was announced last summer, and now, after a little over a year of design, construction, and installation, the courts are now nearly ready to be enjoyed.

The court features three hoops, including two oriented for potential full-court play, and a third for the possibility of three simultaneous half-court games, games of H-O-R-S-E, etc.

The floor and the walls behind the court include geometrical designs created by artists at BLKBOX, an NWA design agency inspired by karesansui (traditional Japanese dry gardens) and Art Deco theater marquees, officials said. The designs were painted by locals Graham and Laura Edwards.

The court will be managed by Experience Fayetteville.


Another view of Art Court / Staff photo

Molly Rawn, CEO of Experience Fayetteville, told us when Art Court was announced last summer that she was excited to see how the project is received by the community. At least at first, the space won’t be programmed with events by the commission.

“We don’t anticipate using it for events and things like that,” she said. “We want it to be open and available. I think that’s what is one of the things that is most interesting about the project is, we don’t know exactly how people will use it, whether it’s just playing pick-up games, as a place to just hang out, or as a place to take photos. We are excited to open it up and see how people use the space.”

Rawn said the ambiguity for use of the court is by design.

“I think the uncertainty of how the community is going to use the space is what’s compelling and exciting about it,” she said. “I know that makes some uncomfortable, but this is a true pilot project, but we want to get comfortable with trying new things like this. It’s how we learn.”

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Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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