On a sunny day in North Central Philadelphia more than 100 parents, students and locals came out to reclaim the Tanner G. Duckrey schoolyard, transforming over 6,000 square feet of asphalt into brightly colored games, mazes and patterns. With support from The Big SandBox (TBS) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, it was a day of painting, music, food and fun.
Duckrey has more than two acres of asphalt devoid of play equipment, grass, landscaping or outdoor gathering spaces. The school and community organizations have spent the past year building a redevelopment plan with support from TBS, and Paint4Play™ provides a meaningful process to bring people together. “Paint4Play has many purposes,” said Kate Gaffigan, Big SandBox Creative Director, “but the main idea is to have fun.”
“Students were SO EXCITED with what they saw coming to school,” said Duckrey Principal David Cohen. “It truly was amazing to see 700 students and families take pride in their newly painted playground.”
Danita Bates, president of the Tanner G. Duckrey Home and School Association, spearheaded the event, working closely with TBS, parents and students. In preparation for the event, the School District of Philadelphia installed four new backboards and rims, repaired exterior faucets and removed trip hazards on the playground.
Paint4Play is an artful and democratic process where a community can gather, socialize, plan, and collaborate on their future schoolyard. By reclaiming these neglected barren spaces, a healing process evolves into a daylong celebration and collective work of art that stands as a symbol of unity and progress.
Developed by TBS, Paint4Play is part of its #DIGPhilly campaign. #DIGPhilly is a 2015 winner of the Knight Cities Challenge, which seeks ideas to make cities more successful by helping them keep and attract talent, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org The Big SandBox currently works in underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Denver, supporting model projects and initiatives at the local and neighborhood level.