Artists to gather ideas for community mural for Edgewood skate park

photo by: Libby Stanford

A skater performs a trick on one of the ramps at the Edgewood DIY skate park on July 27, 2018. This park is the first of its kind east of Iowa Street.

Designs will soon be created to turn the bare concrete of the Edgewood skate park into a community mural.

The do-it-yourself skate park was itself a community project, and some of those involved are also helping to lead the mural project. Community artists Nicholas Ward and Billy Beeson are both involved with the project, and Ward said the mural would cover all the concrete surfaces, treating the skate park’s concrete ramps, other skating features and flat surfaces as a single canvas for the mural.

“It’s looking at the entire park as a surface,” Ward said. “So not that much different than doing a mural that would be on a vertical wall, except that we’re just painting the whole space. And so it’s interesting in how it looks and all the perspectives you can see it from.”

Ward said the artists wanted a cohesive pattern for the mural, with images weaving in and out of that larger pattern. He said the skate park, which was built on an old basketball court in Edgewood Park, is about 100 feet by 50 feet and includes several ramps and other skate features.

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The mural project is being funded in part by a $2,500 Community Art Grant from the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission, according to Porter Arneill, director of communications and creative resources for the city. Arneill said the Parks and Recreation Department has also offered the project up to $1,000 in-kind for material costs, which would cover paint, paintbrushes, rollers and other supplies. Ward said the project also received $1,000 from the Full Circle Youth Program, an out-of-school program of the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority.

The artists previously gathered ideas for the mural from Full Circle participants and will be holding a mural design session this weekend. The session is open to the public, and Ward said they would be reaching out to kids who use the skate park and inviting them to attend. He said the process would be participatory and would include getting sketches from participants that could be incorporated into the design and ideas for the overall subject matter for the mural.

“From everything that we collect from participants, we’ll be looking for themes to emerge,” Ward said. “The ideal would be that themes do emerge and then we’re able to take and reference specific drawings that people have made and, with very little interpretation, include those within what we are doing with the mural.”

The artists also plan to get feedback from Parks and Recreation staff and the Brook Creek Neighborhood Association on the design. Arneill said that both the Parks and Rec advisory board and the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission would review the design and provide a recommendation to the City Commission, which must approve the final design.

Members of the Lawrence Skaters Association worked with Parks and Rec to get proper approvals for the Edgewood skate park after their original DIY skate park was dismantled in 2016. The old DIY skate park was located in the woods near the Kansas River and was dismantled because it lacked necessary permits.

The Edgewood skate park mural design session will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St. Ward said the plan was to complete the initial mural design by the end of March, present the design for review in April and then begin painting once it’s approved.

SLKBP Hardcourt – Edgewood Park


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