The skatepark as public art. Photo courtesy of Antonie Robertson.
Recently in Vancouver, British Columbia a skateboard competition transformed a park into a public art installation. Reigning Canadian champion Alex Sorgente was joined by dozens of featured for an annual skate park jam, Design direction for the temporary public art project was provided by graffiti artists Virus and Ben Tour, supported by talent from the city.
Adam Hopkins of Vancouver competes in the Van Doren Invitational skateboard competition at Hastings Skate Park in Vancouver on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider
Looking around the nation, there are other fascinating public art projects connected to skateboard parks. Here are a few examples:
LAND studio partnered with Grindline Skateparks Inc., Public Square Group, and the City of Cleveland to create an beautiful skate park. The skate park covers 15,000 square feet and features the iconic snake run, street park elements, ledges and more. Cleveland-based designer Dru Mckeown of TOI studio was selected as part of the City of Cleveland’s public art program to design a shade structure for the park. The 40-foot structure is inspired by the industrial landscape of the Cuyahoga River Valley.
The Canopi Bowl
Back in 2012, Tashkeel, a hub for creatives and artists in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, held the first Skate Biladi event constructing a huge skateboard ramp in its gardens. The unique skate park design was created as both a functional space for skateboarding and an art installation celebrating the curves of Arabic calligraphy. The ramp is open to all and is accessible throughout the year. The much-loved Canopi Bowl is also located at Tashkeel and is built around natural obstacles such as trees and shrubbery creating a cool and sheltered place to skate. Photo credit: Angelo Aguilor Photos
In the summer of 2013, the City of Seattle, Oregon partnered with 4Culture (a public art organization) and the company Red Bull conducted a call for artists to create a public art piece that would accommodate skateboarding. 40 artists applied and after an extensive interview process artist C.J. Rench was chosen to produce Seattle’s first skateable public art sculpture.