Dozens of people gathered into The White Horse on St. Germain Street Saturday evening, April 2, for the 10th annual Skate Unity Art Show closing ceremony.
Skate Unity, hosted by local skateboard and snowboard shop The Youth Shelter Supply — and executed this year by Mike Thienes, Mike Pettit, Pat Jensen, Josh Johnson and Lane Kloskowski — features local artists creating designs on blank skateboard decks that are to be auctioned off to raise money for the local skateboard community.
The event began 10 years ago with help from then SCSU art student, Melissa Ruebl, to help raise funds to build the St. Cloud Skate Plaza, and it continued to develop in the years following. This year’s proceeds will go to help fund two free Skate Camps at the St. Cloud Skate Plaza in May, sponsored by The Youth Shelter Supply, with the remaining funds going towards new lights at the Skate Plaza.
“From day one the idea was always to combine skateboarding, art, and fundraising for positive causes,” said Mike Thienes, co-owner of The Youth Shelter Supply.
“The collection was great overall,” Thienes said. “Each year the artists progress. Painting and drawing on a skateboard is not easy for many of them, and this was the first year that all of the decks sold.”
Madison Holler, a junior acquiring a BFA at St. Cloud State has been creating decks for Skate Unity for the past three years.
“I drew inspiration for my deck this year from an existing series of drawings I’m doing surrounding themes of flora, fauna and females,” Holler said. “My materials included graphite, charcoal, watercolor, gilding and ink.”
“The decks are a fun break from the norm for me,” Holler said. “And I really enjoy the challenges of the surface of a skateboard. I typically use paper for all painting and drawing that I do with graphite and watercolor.”
Holler finds inspiration from the Old Dutch Masters flower painting still lives.
“Often the painters would use unlikely flora pairings from different regions around the world that would blossom at conflicting seasons,” she said. “Aside from my admiration for floral, more conceptually, my drawings narrate female injustice or disregard. Themes of decay and metamorphosis suggest an offense or struggle, where the figure’s indifference suggests a learned helplessness to any perpetration.”
Although the turnout was good this year from the voices of the architects of the event, they plan on extending the amount of days the silent auction is up, as well as overlapping with the St. Cloud Art Crawl for more visibility.
“Working with the White Horse crew is always a treat, and they requested for us to have the event longer next year,” said Thienes. “We are also looking into ideas to get the decks out online and potentially open it to bidding from a computer anywhere.”
But, in regards to online bidding, Thienes said, “I’m not sure. I always liked the idea of getting people to come downtown for a get-together. I’m old school, I like telling an artist to their face that I like their work.”