Holyoke, Massachusetts boasts a long and storied volleyball tradition. It’s where William G. Morgan invented the game originally called mintonette in 1895. It’s also the city the International Volleyball Hall of Fame calls home.
And soon, Holyoke will also feature some truly unique artwork: As a celebration of the city’s ongoing significance to the history of the sport, 20 oversize volleyball sculptures are currently sitting in the Holyoke School Department’s Central Supply building awaiting permanent installation throughout this city of 38,880. Each of the volleyballs was painted by an area artist, many of whom are from the city itself.
The initiative is part of Leadership Holyoke, an 11-week community leadership course offered at Holyoke Community College to train and motivate volunteers to make a positive difference in their community. The 2015-16 Leadership Holyoke class came up with the idea then got the proverbial ball rolling, so to speak.
If the idea of having oversize athletic sculpture sounds familiar to local residents, it could be because, just nine miles down the road in Springfield, one can find pairs of oversize fiberglass basketball shoes on permanent display in the city where William G. Morgan’s contemporary, James Naismith, invented another game that has stood the test of time.
The "Have a Ball" projected, started by a cohort of the Leadership Holyoke 2015-2016 class. It's a public art project where 20 fiberglass volleyballs will be placed all over Holyoke. First one is at the Volleyball Hall of Fame. @HolyokeCC @Holyoke_Chamber @Jeffrey30141506 pic.twitter.com/IcWUn07IVr
— Dr. Christina Royal (@christinaroyal7) May 29, 2018