New mural replaces graffiti

The corrugated storage trailer that stands between fields 2 and 3 of the Forest Hills Youth Athletic Association (FHYAA) was constantly vandalized for years. That is, until the parents and director of the Girls’ Softball League had an innovative idea: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could paint it?”
“Every year, we’ve been trying to improve,” said Joseph Nocerino, now in his third year as the Director of Girls’ Softball. “The last couple years,” he said, the league has had “a sort of Renaissance,” with about 115 girls participating this year.
The trailer, located in the middle of the four ball fields on Fleet Street in Forest Hills, a 40-foot by 10-foot “battleship gray” storage space for park equipment, is often tagged with random graffiti, according to Nocerio and Kathryn Thome, the mother of one of the ballplayers.
The Renaissance of the once fledging league and the talk of the trailer prompted Thome to ask Jane Sanders, a freelance editorial illustrator from Forest Hills to paint a mural on the trailer based on the design.
The mural, which reads “Girls’ Softball 2007” and has a portrait of a softball player, began as a graffiti clean-up project with the girls softball league coming together to clean it up with white primer.
Sanders began soon after the primer dried, unbeknownst to the girls, according to Nocerino.
“Kathryn commissioned me because, as she said, I was the only crafty person she knew,” Sanders laughed. “I did a block design” with the ideas the adults involved with the project gave, and “limited the colors so the league would not have to spend so much.”
Sanders spent a couple hours per day painting that week, finishing on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend just in time for the unveiling at the Girl’s Softball barbecue the next afternoon.
At the barbeque, the surprised and pleased girls were able to add their touch to the mural by placing their handprints and signatures to the newly created piece.
“We got lucky,” Nocerino said, about being able to accomplish their wish.
First, “we wanted to paint the trailer to get rid of it, then we wanted to do hand prints, and then” the mural idea came about.
“It all happened within a week,” and now the trailer looks better than ever, Nocerino said.

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