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Virginia Beach artist makes over basketball backboards, creates positive impact on community

HOOPS OF HOPE | One man's passion project is sparking smiles at local schools and their surrounding neighborhoods.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A Virginia Beach artist's passion project is making a positive impact at local schools and their surrounding neighborhoods. Troy Summerell beautifies basketball boards and transforms them into colorful pieces of art.

Summerell, of Onie Tonie Designs, is a Virginia Beach native. He dedicates personal time, paying it forward in his hometown and the surrounding community. 

"I'm just stoked to do it," Summerell reflected. 

Using his artistic eye and skill, Summerell paints over basketball boards and gives them new life.

"It takes something that's not a piece of art and turns it into a piece of art. But it's also an interactive piece of art because the kids are out shooting on the hoops," he said. 

Credit: Troy Summerell

Summerell considers this a public art project. Over the course of six years, he has completed transformations at eight other schools in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He also painted the basketball hoops at Doyle Way Park. The schools Summerell has worked on are:

  • W.T. Cooke Elementary
  • Bayside Elementary
  • Lynnhaven Elementary
  • Jacox Elementary
  • Point O' View Elementary
  • Windsor Woods Elementary
  • Linkhorn Park Elementary
  • Little Creek Elementary

The ninth school was Bettie F. Williams Elementary School in Virginia Beach, the project which 13News Now captured.

"We're just real, real lucky," said longtime and retiring principal Timothy Sullivan. "Five years ago, we didn't even have basketball courts out here."

He explained the significance of this project. 

"[The courts] have been here, a big part of the community, but they look like plain, regular basketball courts until Troy came and transposed them into these works of art," said Sullivan. 

Credit: Troy Summerell

“So, it’s not  just for the school; it’s for the community. I hope they like it. I hope it’s fun for them," said Summerell.

The professional artist told 13News Now that this art has inspired groups and community members to do positive work of their own, "This hasn't just been a me thing."

Inadvertently though, he is leaving a positive impact with his designs.

"For me, it's less about what's on these backboards, I feel like the whole project is kind of the piece of art," said Summerell. 

Summerell shared his line of work also includes the first-ever mural at the Oceanfront's VIBE district, along with wrap designs for Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters ambulances.


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