On Saturday, September 28, the Grand Traverse County Skate Park at the Civic Center will be transformed by its artistically inclined users and community members during the first-ever “Street-Art-in-the-Skate-Park” project and event.
Hosted by Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Department, the goal of the event is to give the graffiti-covered Skate Park a makeover. Park users and community members are invited to pitch in to paint over old, unpleasant graffiti with new images, subject to review and approval by local art organizers and Parks and Recreation Department staff.
Community art show organizer Ryan Walsh and local artist and community art show organizer Steve Cattin will combine their talents to inspire and assist the volunteer artists. Walsh, who also is a Civic Center Park Attendant, views this as a community art project and an opportunity for Skate Park users and supporters to truly make the park their own. “We are excited about the process and anticipate a positive outcome for everyone involved,” says Walsh. “The event will bring together residents of our community with a wide range of artistic abilities to express themselves and, at the same time, improve the look of the park.”
In addition to Walsh, there are three other Park Attendants (more commonly referred to as “park rangers”) on Civic Center grounds who interact on a daily basis with Skate Park users, many of whom they’ve watched grow up over the years. Park Attendant Tyler Champt observes that each summer, “the ‘skate park kids’ bond and create their own community of like-minded, extreme-sport athletes.” An invitation to give their park an artistic facelift “is just another common strand among a very diverse group of users,” he says. “But, most of all, it’s a great way to celebrate another successful season in the park.”
Built in 2001, the Skate Park has always been surrounded by a fence. On September 20, the Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Commission voted during its regular meeting to have the fence removed to make the park more inviting and accessible to its users, their families, and the public. It is anticipated that the fence will be removed some time after Saturday’s event. During the past 12 years, the Skate Park’s overall use has grown tremendously, and today, there is a new generation of users enjoying the space, many of whom were mentored by original park users and advocates.
Sponsored by Lifer Skateboard Shop, 2nd Level Goods, Sevens Paint, Grand Traverse Art Bomb Community Art Show, Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders of Traverse City, and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, the Street-Art-in-the-Skate-Park project will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 28, weather-permitting. The event culminates in a late afternoon/early evening celebration with free food for those who have worked on the project (first-come, first served). In the case of inclement weather, Street-Art-in-the-Skate-Park will be rescheduled for Saturday, October 5.
Skate Park users, parents, and community members alike are welcome to participate. Images will be monitored and “canvas” space may be limited. Spray paint will be provided as long as supplies last. Artists may bring their own spray paint, as long as it meets certain requirements. For more information, check out the Skate Park’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/1416759908543760/.
Contact: Kristine Erickson, Office Manager, Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation; 231-922-4818 (phone); firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail).