A new gallery show in Roanoke sets out to showcase the connection between skateboarding and underground art.
It’s meant to help rally support for a new skate park in Roanoke.
The show, “No Comply,” opens Friday in Aurora Studio Center at 110 Campbell Ave. S.W. featuring skateboarding culture-themed work by 23 artists. It was organized by Keri and Jason Garnett, founders of the nonprofit Roanoke Skatepark Initiative.
The nonprofit’s motto is “Roanoke needs a place to skate.”
The days are numbered for the 18-year-old skate park under the bridge in Wasena Park. The plywood ramps have warped, and when they’re no longer usable, they’re not being replaced. When the bridge is closed for repairs within a few years, the skate park there will go away for good.
The members of the Skatepark Initiative want to see a new, better skate park built. As an example, Jason Garnett points to the all-concrete Bedford Skate Park that opened in 2010 inside Bedford County’s Falling Creek Park.
That park came about because of a community-led fund raising effort that ultimately marshalled more than $300,000. A similar park in Roanoke would likely cost more.
The Roanoke Skatepark Initiative has a few tough stunts to pull off. Though Roanoke Parks and Recreation officials don’t dispute the need for a better facility, in the most recent survey asking Roanoke residents what they want from city parks, a new skate park was one of the lowest priorities.
“We’ve had some really constructive meetings with Parks and Rec,” Jason Garnett said. “They’re on board with the idea. It comes down to budget and money.”
One of the group’s most immediate goals is to raise awareness so that a new place to skateboard scores higher in the next survey.
Both Garnetts have a track record of involvement with Roanoke-centric projects that have offbeat art credentials. Jason, 40, is the skater of the two. “I’ve been skateboarding for 28 years,” he said. The Garnetts’ son and daughter also skateboard.
Roanoke Skatepark Initiative will sell T-shirts at Friday’s opening, with proceeds supporting the organization. For more about Roanoke Skatepark Initiative, visit https://www.roaskate.org.
The “No Comply” reception starts at 6 p.m. during Roanoke’s Art by Night downtown gallery tour, which happens from 5 to 9 p.m. the first Friday of each month. At present, 15 galleries, stores and arts and culture organizations take part in the tour, several of which have events and openings scheduled today.
Gallery 202 at 202 Market Square S.E. is opening “Wallflower” by Roanoke fashion designer Rosemary Ann St. Jacques, who has created outfits that incorporate prints of works by regional artists such as Suzun Hughes, Terry Lyon, Scott “Toobz” Noel, Diane Patton, C.J. Sparks Phillips and Margaret Sue Turner Wright. In her artist statement, St. Jacques wrote, “What if the art on the walls wrapped its arms around us, and let us wear our emotions on our sleeves, literally? That is what I create!”
The Fleda A. Ring Artworks gallery in 16 West Marketplace on Church Street Southwest will dedicate an installation in 16 West’s indoor courtyard, “Trinity Evolution 1-3” by Roanoke painter David Stein. The series of three canvasses reference spiritual journeys and hope for the future.
The gallery’s main show is “From London to April: Textual Impressions,” a series of abstract mixed media works by gallery owner and artist Fleda Ring. The series has its origins in art techniques she developed during periods of recovery from surgery and coping with grief.
For more information on Art by Night, visit roanokeartbynight.com.