Friday, March 1, 6 to 11 p.m., LAUNCH: Community Through Skateboarding, will be hosting their second annual “All Hands on Deck” silent auction art show today.
The event began a year ago after the facility opened in June 2011. Artists are given skateboarding decks and are told to design and paint an original work on the skateboard.
This year there are 65 artists are involved, with 50 of them being local artists. National skateboard artists, photographers and designers also donated work to be auctioned off.
According to their website, Launch Skate is a non-profit organization built to empower individuals to better themselves and their community through skateboarding. Their mission is to provide a safe environment that fosters creativity and self-expressions to skateboarders.
According to Andy Weiss, the executive director of Launch Skate, a lot of the artists that were involved the previous year came back to join again.
“They’re just friends of the organization or are board members. We have tattoo artists, graphic designers, professional skateboarders and just a broad spectrum,” Weiss said.
At the auction there will be food and drinks provided by LaLuz, Surfside 7, Odell Brewing and New Belgium Brewing, as well as a raffle with prizes provided by Vans, CONS, The Bean Cycle, RedTable Cafe and Ottercares. Beers will go for $3.
When beginning Launch Skate two summers ago, Weiss saw a support system and a demand for his idea.
“I just kind of noticed no one was really doing anything and there was a need for it,” Weiss said.
Skaters pay a fee to skate in the indoor ramp at the facility on College Avenue. The organization offers “build-your-own board” classes and skating classes — they even have a program called the “Honor Roll” that encourages kids to bring in their transcript and be rewarded with a gift certificate to the skate store if their grades improved throughout their semester.
Cody Oliver, a sophomore CSU student, has been skating since he was in sixth grade, and finds it to be one of his greatest passions.
“Skating is important for everything. It’s where I made friends, progressed myself, it was my creative outlet. It was a whole culture I could identify with. And it was also just what I’d do to relieve stress,” Oliver said.
Allison Alter, an art teacher at Fort Collins High School and a participating artist in the show, can see the overlap between art and skateboarding in high school.
“I think that it’s important because for teenage boys, generally teenage boys, skateboarding is kind of this creative physical outlet. What I do as an occupation is a creative outlet as well,” Alter said. “I understand kids needing a place to feel like they belong. And skaters, they’re generally alternative kids and having a support system is really important.”
Last year was her first time painting a skateboard, but this year she began researching and thinking about her board design after the last show.
“The current work that I do on my own time is kind of really feminine. So I wanted to put something figurative on the board, because it’s kind of long and lean,” Alter said.
Apart from the skateboard community, Alter thinks that the show is a perfect opportunity for local artists to collaborate.
The appeal of skateboarding, according to Weiss, is the creative expression it can be, as opposed to simply a physical activity.
“I come from a generation of skateboarders that we were looked down on for doing it,” Weiss said. “It was a waste of time and seen as something more destructive than constructive. But recently, it’s gotten a little bit more for something that’s positive.”