The Lakeland Magic, a National Basketball Association G-League affiliate team of the Orlando Magic, unveiled a new addition to the RP Funding Center on Sept. 13 during the annual open house event.
The public art piece is a large-scale mural located on the east side of the RP Funding Center by Entrance 4. The art features ‘LKLD’ lettering in light and dark blue hues, inspired by the numerous lakes within city limits according to an artist quote from Lakeland Now, a community-drive news publisher. Its basketball background is symbolized with the addition of two basketballs on either side of the lettering, painted on a dark backdrop.
The mural’s layout was designed by Lakeland Magic staff and completed by Lakeland-native, Gillian Fazio.
“I think this piece will help extend olive branches to Lakeland building owners to embrace murals because they can help our city flourish with tourists, curious locals, and bring the community together,” Fazio said. “I hope to expand my scope of work in the Lakeland area and be a part of the movement that brings murals and public art into the spotlight.”
Fazio has completed several large-scale art pieces around town. Some can be viewed at the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion at the Lakeland Regional Health Center and among the hallways of Lincoln Avenue Academy.
After unveiling the mural, the Lakeland Magic organization hopes to bring together the diverse community of Lakeland for a common cause.
“We understand the value and the passion that the Lakeland community has for the arts and wanted to do something to contribute,” Ashley Foss, Lakeland Magic Director of Marketing and Communications, said. “The second [way] was to create a landmark that represents the city of Lakeland, the community, Lakeland Magic basketball and the fans.”
The NBA G-League team stands behind their brand campaign, As One, and wants to incorporate a piece of the community into their basketball environment at the RP Funding Center. As an organization they focus on teamwork, within the game, and building a community, outside of game days.
“This foundation served as inspiration for the design which is why the focus is on LKLD vs Lakeland Magic basketball,” Foss said.
The mural has received positive responses from the community. On Instagram posts related to the LKLD mural, from Lakeland area media outlets and business, have received roughly over 1,000 ‘likes’ combined.
“We’re excited to add a new Instagram-worthy spot to Lakeland. #AsOne,” @lakelandlocals said, a page run by Lakeland business who promote residents to shop local commerce .
“Lakeland just got a little more magical. We call this mural by @gfazioart a total slam dunk,” @thelaltoday posted, an Instagram profile run by a news outlet who provides stories for Lakeland community residents.
Earlier this summer, members of the Lakeland Magic team held a preview night at a local art gallery to highlight additional upcoming milestones in relation to the surrounding community. The organization announced the Magic will host ‘A Night of the Arts’ in March 2020. The dedicated ‘Night of the Arts’ game will be a collaboration between basketball and the art community.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the local community and highlight the artistic talent here in Lakeland,” Lakeland Magic Vice President, Dara Trujillo said.
In early August, Magic fans voted between three fan-designed jerseys, promoted via the organization’s social media accounts. The jersey will be worn during a ‘Night of the Arts’ and auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the winner’s charity of choice within the Polk County area.
The Lakeland Magic will play their first home game of the 2019-20 season on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. against the College Park Skyhawks, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks. To purchase tickets visit lakelandmagic.com or call (863)825-3258.