By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 07, 2021 at 10:31 AM

If there was ever a perfect time to paint new life into a Milwaukee park basketball court, surely it’s when the amazing Bucks have rammed their way into the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly half a century.

The courts at Moody Park, 2201 W. Auer Ave. – a 4-acre Milwaukee County Parks System park – are closed through July 17 as artist Art Fu Yung (aka Jamahl Turner) leads a group of artists and volunteers to decorate the court.

The design for the court will be unveiled at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 9 in an event at True Skool, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., # 1000.

“This is an opportunity to influence Milwaukee youth, to teach Milwaukee youth mental health awareness,” said Turner on the project website. “To teach them about manifestations-to tap in and shift their paradigm. By shifting their mindset they can truly become greatness.

“They don’t have to be victims of their surroundings. I don’t want them to feel like they’re stuck anymore.”

Among the partners on the project  – funded by Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Milwaukee County Parks – are Amani Youth Council, Artists Working in Education, Children’s Outing Association, Cream Skills Basketball Association, Dominican Center, Friends of Moody Park, Imagine MKE, Office of Violence Prevention, Program the Parks MKE and True Skool.

The organizers are seeking volunteers for one-hour slots on July 14-16, You can sign up here.

Then, on July 17, the courts will be rededicated in a special event.

More information on the Moody Park Community Court Art Project can be found here.

The park was named for Calvin C. Moody – one of the first African-American police officers to achieve the rank of detective in Milwaukee – In 1982, After retiring from MPD, Moody served as director of the Northside YMCA, as an NAACP board member and as a County Supervisor.

In 2008, the Moody Park pool and recreation center was closed, creating a need in the neighborhood for youth activities.

The park was renovated by the county in 2015 and a new year-round community center opened. That work won a number of awards, including the City of Milwaukee’s Mayor’s Design Award, a MANDI Award for Neighborhood Design and a Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association Park Design Award of Merit.

Tragically, in 2019, 20-year-old Quanita “Tay” Jackson was shot and killed in the park the day after she helped organize a basketball tournament at Moody.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.