US Tennis Association Transforms NYC Courts as Part of ‘Art Courts’ Initiative

Highland Park Courts in Brooklyn
Highland Park Courts in Brooklyn | © USTA
Photo of Michael LoRé
Sports Editor21 August 2018

In celebration of the the US Open’s 50th anniversary, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) launched its “Arts Courts” initiative to refurbish and repaint tennis courts in five cities across the country. The final installment was unveiled in New York City on August 18.

The USTA is all about the promotion of tennis from the grassroots level to the professional ranks. In conjunction with Chase bank, the national governing body for tennis in the United States launched its “Art Courts” initiative to refurbish and repaint courts across the country so young players can enjoy the sport.

In each of the five cities – Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cincinnati and New York – the USTA gave local artists free reign to transform the courts how they saw fit.

New York-based artists Sandro “Sen2” Figueroa and James “SEXER” Rodriguez used the Highland Park Tennis Courts in Brooklyn as their canvas to conclude the five-month initiative. More than 50 kids from the Highland Park Tennis Association, a National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter, were on hand for the unveiling on August 18.

Sen2 and SEXER are the local artists behind the Brooklyn court design | © USTA

“The next generation of great athletes develop their skills in our public parks,” NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said in a release. “Now, thanks to the USTA, the kids of Brooklyn have fully refurbished tennis courts to practice on, with fun artwork that adds a splash of color to this neighborhood.”

A member of the NJTL, the Highland Park Tennis Association is an all-volunteer organization founded in 2004. Its goal is to create a safe and friendly environment on the Brooklyn/Queens border where tennis can be enjoyed.

The courts chosen in Highland Park were a block of eight 36-foot courts, which are designed for young players to learn and play the game. Regulation, full-sized tennis courts are 78 feet long.

Sen2 is a Puerto Rican self-taught graffiti artist. His work has been on display around the globe in solo and group shows since 2001. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the South Bronx, SEXER dabbled in cartoons growing up and by 10 years old was exhibiting his work at the former Gimbels Department Store in Herald Square, which closed in 1986.

“Having the opportunity to share my passion for art and painting with the youth of Brooklyn as well as to give back to the community makes the Art Courts very unique because it’s a true lifestyle and cultural experience,” Sen2 says.

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