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Bulls and local artist design new basketball court

VOLUNTEERS WITH ALL-STAR Press and Connors Sports at the Miracle Center’s new basketball court in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. (Photo by Marcus Robinson)

With nearly 250 people in attendance, the Chicago Bulls, in collaboration with All-Star Press and Connors Sports, worked together with local artist, painter and muralist Liz Flores to design The Miracle Center’s (TMC) new basketball court in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood on Friday, December 15.

Flores said designing the basketball court was a one-year project that would not have been possible without the help of TMC Founder, Mary Santana, Vanessa Torres, community partnerships and the Bulls.

The Crusader spoke to Flores, Torres and Santana about the art process and the short-term, intermediate and long-term goals of the project.

“Short term it started with a sketch,” said Flores to the Crusader about the short- term, intermediate and long-term process of the project. “Long term it was meeting with the Miracle Center, getting to know them, their mission, talking to the Bulls team, seeing the space and figuring out what is going to work within the space and the color palette they already have.”

After creating a pencil sketch for the organization, Flores said the group sent her a mockup of the basketball court. After receiving the mockup, she immediately printed it out on computer paper, started sketching and converting the image digitally. She also explained there was a meeting that took place with All-Star Press Chicago. The group was responsible for providing Flores with projected art images for the floor.

“They had someone who could project the image onto the basketball court to get it perfect,” said Flores about All-Star Press Chicago and their contributions to the art project. “We had some folks to do the basketball lines. It was a complete team effort to bring this together.”

Santana, who served the Northwest Side community for nearly 28 years, founded the Center back in 1995.

“I was a single mom. I worked for a teen magazine and I wanted to spend more time with my son,” said Santana on how she founded The Miracle Center. “So, I quit my job and started a day camp out of my basement (apartment). I wanted to see how I could give him more opportunities. I started with 10 kids out of my basement and here we are.”

When asked why this project was special to her, she responded: “We’ve impacted over 25,000 teens. It will be 28 years in May. How special it is to me? It’s home. It’s really home.”

Santana said one of her biggest goals was to have a gymnasium. She was very proud of the project and thanked the Chicago Bulls, local artists and community leaders for making her dreams come true.

The event also featured a passing of the ball moment to honor all involved in the project, entertainment by Benny the Bull, the Elevators and the first shot taken by TMC Founder Mary Santana.

According to Chicago Bulls Community Investment focus, the group’s goal is to invest their time, finances and resources into organizations that create access to service, entrepreneurship, and professional development opportunities in underserved Chicago communities.

Sports Editor at Chicago Crusader Newspaper | + posts

Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.

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