Aug 24

Art in the Park: A Year in Review Look at the Legacy Park Fitness Court

On June 28th, 2023, The City of Huntsville opened Legacy Park with a ribbon-cutting and community celebration. The $4.6 million park, completed the reimagining of the former J.O. Johnson High School which closed in 2016.

Front and center to the celebration stood the Legacy Park Fitness Court, adorned with the work of local artist Jamal ‘FRESKO’ Turner. This Fitness Court is the second to be installed in Huntsville, developed in partnership with the City of HuntsvilleNational Fitness Campaign, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. FRESKO’s imagery on the Fitness Court includes many diverse hands that surround the words “LEGACY PARK”. The effect is as if members of the community are themselves constructing the park.

On the interior side of the court, the artwork continues, with the word “LEGACY” deconstructed. This illustrates many parts being brought together into something whole. Elements of blue and gold, alluding to the original colors of J.O. Johnson High School, are also featured in the artwork.

FRESKO’s artwork is the result of a rigorous selection process. A year ago, on August 24th, 2022, Arts Huntsville released an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) inviting artists to apply for consideration for artwork to be installed on the Legacy Park Fitness Court. Over the six-week application period, fourteen talented local artists applied for consideration.

While the artists assembled their portfolios and submitted their applications, Arts Huntsville worked behind the scenes to assemble a selection committee to judge the artwork. Selection Committee members included Mark Moore (Graphic Designer and former member of the Public Art Committee), Dennis Madsen (Manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning),  DeLinda Morris (Art Teacher at Jemison High School), James Gossett (Director of Parks & Recreation), and John Hamilton (City Administrator).

Using rubric-informed selection criteria, this committee selected three finalists who received an honorarium to submit a proposed sketch for the artwork. The selected finalists: Trinity Poplar, Jamal ‘FRESKO’ Turner, and Asé Selah. These artists provided sketches and artist statements for the selection committee to review.


Selecting artwork for the public is a major responsibility, and making a final choice is never easy. Ultimately, the Selection Committee selected Jamal Turner’s work, upon reaching a consensus that his work most exemplified the neighborhood community. From the reactions of the public, and the cheers of “GO JAGUARS!” on Legacy Park’s opening day, it seems the community agrees.

Do you enjoy the work of our finalists on this project? Do you have a project in need of an artist or illustrator? Be sure to check out our Arts Directory to learn more about local arts professionals!






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