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Skateboard Art and Entrepreneurship

Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Humanitites

Mark Rivard worked as an artist in residence at Sorensen during the 2022/2023 school year. The goal of the Artist in Residence Program is to teach art skills, create opportunities for arts integration of core curriculum as well as build a sense of community in the school. All activities for this project took place at Sorensen and Emerge CDA. The concept of Skateboard art is unique and relevant to student interest. Students who may not otherwise be interested in learning drawing skills are intrigued by this culturally relevant canvas. At the conclusion of the residency family and community members were invited to an art walk at the school. Students hung their skateboards on their lockers creating an impressive viewing opportunity of all 315 skateboards. The school hired a film crew to capture footage of the project for our annual fundraising auction. Twelve of the students skateboards were chosen to be on display at the Emerge Gallery for their month long exhibition.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do artists and designers create works of art or design that effectively communicate?

Students were asked to consider things in their life that they loved and to express that visually through drawing and sketching first on paper and then on a skateboard deck using sharpie markers. They were asked to consider how their art may be received differently when presented on a skateboard verses another medium and how they could use the unique space provided to send a message into the world of who they are as an artist and community member. They used symbols, images, and words to show their personality and intention in their artwork.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

All students completed an artist statement that was displayed next to their skateboard deck. These were also shared with their classmates and presented at a full school assembly with parents. One first grade girl bravely approached the microphone with her artist statement to share with the whole school and family members. When asked what her art shows, she said “My art shows my passion and my love for art”. Her deck was covered with red hearts and fire. Her love for art and passion for life was clearly expressed in her artwork and everyone was touched by her willingness to share.

Impact

By the end of the project I noticed the pride each student had in their work. Creating art on something as permanent and unique as a skateboard really pushed the students to do their best work and they realized how special it was to get to have this experience. I was surprised at how unique each design was and how intentional the students were to create something that shared their personality with the world. One of my favorite moments happened when the students art was on display at the local Emerge Gallery for the 2nd Friday art walk. Watching adults with no connection to the school find so much joy and connection to the works created by the students was a very satisfying moment. I also loved connecting with the local skate community through a demo day at the local skatepark. It gave students context for the culture and utility of their canvas.

Reflection

Mark Rivard is a highly professional teaching artist and his story and artwork connects with students and adults in a unique way. I would highly recommend him to others as a guest artist. Next time I would not do the project with the Kindergarten and 1st graders as they didn’t fully grasp the quality and unique opportunity to create artwork on a skateboard. Resources would have been better used on a more relevant project.

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