Greenway walkers, ball game players and fans may notice a new addition to Fred Deadman Park on the Babe Ruth Field – the furthest field from the playground.
Jennifer Peacock Hodges has been hard at work bringing the back of one of the dugouts to life with Looney Toon characters. With Sylvester pitching and the Tasmanian Devil at bat, catcher Daffy Duck and referee Bugs Bunny will have to keep a close eye on the coming play to make sure the game stays clean and fair. In the outfield and on bases are FogHorn LegHorn and Tweety Bird.
As for having her work on a large public canvas, she is thrilled.
“I’m excited. I like doing things like this, I like people, I like kids. If it makes them, then I’m happy,” Hodges said.
The Manchester resident has an extensive background with painting cartoon characters – she used to work at Tadpoles and Frogs Preschool and would also be asked to paint Dr. Seuss characters. She also painted cartoon murals in her kids rooms and enjoys painting script writing, mermaids and seahorses as well.
As of Friday, April 12, the dugout closest to the greenway is nearing completion. The other dugout will be finished weather and time permitting – Hodges is a mother and works at The Place to Be, a massage therapy clinic in Manchester.
The other ballfield dugouts do not currently have art planned for them. Commissioners Scott van Velsor and Kristin Luna of DMA-events need permission from the Recreation Commission for each field.
Art in the park
Looney Toons are not the only things coming to Fred Deadman Park this summer; the back of the batter's eye near the flagpole and playground will be painted by van Velsor and Luna. The pair plan on doing abstract art on the side that faces the greenway.
The Manchester Skate Park will be painted as well. After receiving complaints on their initial project, van Velsor, Luna and the Recreation Commission agreed to move the art from the skate park to the Ada Wright Center. The wall that is directly against the Skate Park will be painted instead. Skaters were concerned the paint would make the surface too smooth for them to use. Painting the wall will add a pop of color without interfering with skaters.
They expect to begin the projects in the summer.