New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, artist Maria Molteni, and partners have officially launched Creative Courts, a transformative art mural-style court project. The colorful mural-style courts serve as beacons for community engagement, as they are public spaces that meet more than just one need. You can find Creative Courts at Clasky Common Park in New Bedford and Edmond P Talbot Middle School in Fall River.

About the artist

Maria Molteni is a Nashville-to-Boston-based multimedia & performing artist, educator & organizer. Having studied Painting and Printmaking at Boston University, her practice sprung from formalist roots and has grown to incorporate research, social engagement, and transdisciplinary experimentation.

Courting the Sky at Clasky Common Park, New Bedford
NBAM and partners are proud to introduce Courting the Sky. This massive mural was created by Maria Molteni and New Craft Artists in Action and designed with neighborhood youth as well as kids from our artMobile program. The title was inspired by the wonderful Standard-Times article by Linda Roy who described the court so magically and accurately.
The artists were inspired by the rich but also dark history of whaling in New Bedford. Maria spoke with neighbors about how basketball courts are as large as some whales, so large you could see them from an airplane or satellite in the sky. The artists taught young ones who are learning to write about the Nautical Flag messaging systems that ships used to communicate from great distances. There is one flag for each letter of the alphabet, in fact, so neighborhood youth helped the painting crew come up with secret messages to imbed into the court. Maria’s prompt asked, “What might whales, so deep in the ocean, want to tell people/creatures way up in the sky?” Answers included “What’s up? What’s down?” kidspeak for the iconic phrase “As Above, So Below,” which is now embedded in the court. Another message from Herman Melville was tweaked and painted on the court, “Consider them both the sea and the land” (changed “land” to “sky”).

COSMIC COURT at Edmond P Talbot Middle School, Fall River

New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, artist Maria Molteni, and New Craft Artists in Action have done it again!  Edmond P. Talbot Middle School in Fall River, MA celebrated the second basketball court mural commissioned by NBAM, Super Flat NB, City of Fall River, and the SouthCoast Community Foundation.

As with their other courts, Molteni began the design process by visiting art classes at Talbot Middle School. They discussed creativity in the athletic realm, including the difference between mascots (as the spirit and energy of a team dynamic) and logos/branding, meant to sell a product to spectators. Students chose personal dream mascots as an icebreaker, then proceeded to make wild drawings of their dream courts. Molteni noticed many circular, cyclical, planetary motifs (eyeballs! flowers! planets! basketballs!) among the drawings and used them as inspiration for Talbot/Fall River’s own luscious basketball universe.

While the court was in progress, students brainstormed new games they’d invent for different shapes and positions they saw in the design- “how many points would we score when shooting from the flower or the Saturn or the infinity?” they would say. The new court, complete with color wheels and diagram, is also intended to be a participatory teaching tool for the art classes who were studying light and shade the weeks of install.

Special Thank You
Brian Raposo
Jacqueline Francisco 

Kathy Castro
City of Fall River
SuperFlat NB

New Craft Artists in Action Painters
Isabel Mattia
Laura Ganci
Eli Brown
John Knudsen
Holly Popielarz
Nazli Dinçel

Aerial photos by John Maciel.

join the team!

Creative Courts are made possible through the support of our generous partners and sponsors. Get off the bench and join the game by sponsoring this amazing project.

Click here to become a sponsor!


The Lodge of Saint Andrew

Chuck Smiler