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Herron School of Art and Design students create futsal court for Indianapolis public school

Sixteen students from a Herron drawing class collaborated on a futsal court, a project that originated with help from the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute and was in conjunction with Indiana Futsal.

When recess at the Center For Inquiry 2 school in downtown Indianapolis takes students outside, many gravitate toward the futsal court. Its bright colors beckon kids to run all over them -- plus, who doesn't love to kick a ball into a net?

The sport, similar to soccer but played with a smaller ball on a basketball court-sized area ideal for places without large expanses of grass, is one of the fastest-growing in America. The already inviting game can look even more so with a compelling playing surface, and that's where students from the Herron School of Art and Design came in to help at CFI 2.

This fall, 16 students from a Herron drawing class collaborated to create a court, with the principal design by third-year art student Charlie Bourquein. The project originated with help from the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute.

"I did a little research just to make sure it was the best possible court I could make for the kids," Bourquein said. "I wanted it to be functional before anything else, but I also wanted to be sure there would be lots of colors."

The court at the K-through-8th grade school is colorful with a purpose, as the shades of blue and green on one half are distinctive from the shades of pink and purple on the other half. Whether you're attacking a goal or defending one, the boundaries are clear.

"There needs to be color, there needs to be creativity, there needs to be angles -- and this court reflects that perfectly," said Justin Becht, director of Indiana Futsal, a state association under the umbrella of Indiana Soccer and a partner in the project. "This court is very special, in the way that students were collaborating and engaging to create something for that space."

It's also the most special of public art projects -- more than an installation on the side of a building or atop a hill, but one that will live beneath kids' feet for years to come.

"There's a game to learn, and there's a beautiful painting on the ground," said Danielle Riede, an associate professor at Herron School of Art and Design who helped guide the project via the school's Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life.

"There's definitely a lot of fun to be had."

Acknowledgments: Pictures by Liz Kaye / Indiana University, Herron School of Arts for putting this document together and sharing it with us.

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