Big art: Muralist, basketball pro, both from Fishers, team up to inspire youth


On a bright spring day, a handful of artists applied even brighter colors to one of the outdoor basketball courts at Brooks School Park off 116th Street in Fishers.

Artist Koda Witsken monitored the progress of her design for the north court, which features an astronaut holding a basketball and a galaxy in the background.

“The south court is going to be similarly cosmic-themed,” she said. “Very, very colorful, but with a rocket ship shooting across half of the court and then a black hole with Saturn rings on the other side.”

Witsken Headshot
Colorful murals will decorate two basketball courts at Brooks School Park, designed by Fishers native Kota Witsken. (Photo courtesy of Brian Brosmer)

Although Witsken designed the two murals, the vision came from NBA player Gary Harris of the Orlando Magic. The two are both Fishers natives, and both attended Hamilton Southeastern High School around the same time, although Witsken said they weren’t close friends then.

“A mutual friend connected us because Gary has wanted to give back to Fishers for years — to do basketball court murals — and just hadn’t found the right artist to execute the vision,” she said. “Our mutual friend — we all went to high school (together) — said, ‘Well, have you talked to Koda?’ So, here we are.”

Witsken said Harris’ goal is to inspire the next generation of basketball youth in Indiana, especially those from Fishers, to “reach for the stars.”

“My love of basketball started in Indiana, the basketball state, and specifically in Fishers,” Harris stated in a City of Fishers news release. “Given all that basketball has done for me and my family, I felt strongly about returning some of that love to the Fishers community with vibrant, statement-making basketball courts for the next generation of Indiana basketball talent to enjoy. I’m very excited to partner with Koda and the city on this project to make the vision a reality.”

Witsken’s work is well known throughout the greater Indianapolis area and she has created numerous murals in Fishers, specifically. This project was a little different, she said, because it’s horizontal — on the court — rather than on a vertical wall. She used a grid to map out the courts, took a drone shot of the courts and superimposed the images so she would know which part of the designs fit into which grid block.

“Once we do the grid, then we do the sketch (on the court),” she said. “Then we fill in the sketch with paint. Because there’s so many colors here — there’s actually 30 — I made a paint-by-number system so that a team can help me install it.”

The paint has a sandy aggregate mixed in, she said. That makes the surface less slippery for players. Witsken said they’re using the same kind of paint that was originally on the court, which is pretty durable. It should remain bright and shiny for at least a couple of years of normal use.

“It’s not going anywhere in a year, two years, but five to seven years from now — the same as you would touch up the courts as they currently exist with just the green and blue paint — they’ll need some loving,” she said. “The Parks Department does have the paint-by-number system we are using, along with all the colors, so they’re able to spot treat as needed until we need to come back and do the whole thing again.”

According to an announcement from the City of Fishers, the murals are part of a commitment to celebrate creativity through public art.

“What an awesome project to kick off the summer,” stated Marissa Deckert, director of Fishers Parks. “Our parks department is so grateful to Gary Harris for teaming up with artist Koda Witsken to make this dream a reality. We can’t wait to share this with the community and celebrate with an event open to all ages. This project brings a winning combination of community and vibrancy to one of our most popular parks.”

Witsken said she’s always loved art and expressed appreciation for a supportive family and her HSE art teacher, Angela Fritz. Witsken said Fritz helped inspire her to become a mural artist.

“She gave us 8-foot boards and said, ‘Paint this,’ and I had never painted something that big and just fell in love,” she said. “It grew from the 8-foot board to painting my bedroom — thanks, Dad — to my first public mural in Fishers when I was 21.”

Witsken graduated from HSE in 2011.

Her newest Fishers murals are special, she said.

“I think that it’s really fun and meaningful that Gary wanted to give back to the place he grew up learning the game that’s now his life,” Witsken said. “And now, I get to give back with art to the place that I grew up that taught me about art and made it special to my life.”

Both murals are due for completion in early May.

CIF COM Muralist 043024 1
An aerial photo shows the almost-completed mural at one one of two Brooks School Park basketball courts, designed by Fishers native Koda Witsken. (Photo courtesy of Brian Brosmer)

Tournament set to celebrate new artwork

In honor of the new Brooks School Park basketball murals’ completion, Fishers Parks has scheduled an outdoor 3-on-3, double-elimination tournament for ages 16-plus; and a 3-Point Contest for ages 8-plus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 18, at Brooks School Park, 11565 Brooks School Rd.

The 3-on-3 tournament is for teams of three or four. The fourth player on a four-person team is an alternate player throughout the tournament, but no substitutions are allowed during any single game.

Teams are charged a fee of $75 for three-person teams and $90 for four-person teams.

The 3-Point contest will group participants by age category — 8 to 13; 14 to 18; and 19-plus. The fee to participate is $15 per person.

For more, visit