Community Group Raises Money from Golden Basketballs

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WILLIAMSPORT – A group in Lycoming County hopes a sculpture made of basketballs spray painted gold will help fund some of their projects in Williamsport.

A pyramid of gold basketballs sits on a desk at Converge, an art gallery on West Fourth Street in Williamsport. The basketballs aren't for shooting hoops. The golden basketballs are for sale.

"The artist kind of did this to bring discussion about. That's one thing with the gallery and why we are here," said John Yogodzinski from Converge Gallery.

John Yogodzinksi is the co-owner of Converge Gallery. A piece called ‘Gentrification’ was created by a teacher in Williamsport. It sat on display in the front window for months. The artist’s inspiration was his students.

"Tim saw his students being neglected to play a free sport," said Yogodzinksi

Back in the spring, Williamsport's mayor had basketball hoops at the city's Memorial Park taken down because of persistent problems with littering and drug use.

"This is where the hoop used to be," said Peter White.

Members of the community and Williamsport Proud, a community-driven group took action when the hoops were removed and protested. The hoops were not put back up.

Peter White bought all 30 basketballs for the sculpture. Now, the gallery is selling them for $40 each to raise money for Williamsport Proud.

"It should be a community of inclusion not exclusion," said White.

Money raised by selling the golden basketballs can't go towards buying new hoops. Members of Williamsport Proud said they will use that money towards other events to help promote unity in the city.

"I think that the project is good because we definitely need more in this area especially for younger people," said Lindsay Snyder of Williamsport.

"The fact that the hoops were removed that's, it is what it is, but let's work on other positive things together to try and unite the community," said Yogodzinski

Anyone who would like to donate money to Williamsport Proud or buy a basketball can stop by Converge Gallery in Williamsport.