There are many people involved in the chain of events that will surround Emerica’s Wild in the Streets on June 21, 2012, in Detroit. Let’s explore how these people came together for the common cause – RideIt Sculpture Park. Keep in mind that this is being written in early April, 2012, and although I made a quick update to include Jay Navarro’s huge contribution, this was written from an early point of view. I’ll be updating as we get closer and after the events.
- Mitch Cope and Power House Productions have been working towards creating a Do-It-Yourself skatepark in their Detroit neighbrohood for several years. Power House is a registered non-profit group run by Cope created with the goal of “neighborhood stabilization and revitalization through the arts and creative enterprises,” and has two stated programs to accomplish that goal: one, an artist residency program, which provides affordable housing for artists from across the world so they are able to develop long-term creative projects in the City of Detroit and contribute to Detroit’s revitalization; and two, a neighborhood stabilization program that incorporates a broad array of activities ranging from boarding up houses, to marketing vacant houses and creating live/work spaces for artists.
- Power House has been working with Detroit native and Thrasher Magazine photographer Joe Brook to build the Sculpture Park DIY spot. A Detroit native, Brook has helped to organize builders, bring in partners from the skateboarding world, and keep the momentum going.
- Emerica is a skateboarding company who has put on the grass-roots skateboard happening Wild in the Streets since 2004 in cities around the globe, always in support of a cause important to some aspect of the skateboarding in each city. Without knowing what Mitch and his crew were up to, Emerica chose Detroit as the location for Wild in the Streets 2012, hopeful that the potential they saw in Detroit would produce a worthwhile cause, but knowing that their Made In Emerica / Do-It-Yourself ideolology was a great fit for Detroit. With typical skateboarder’s zeal, the folks at Emerica saw Detroit not as a run-down lost city, but as a blank canvas full of potential. And that potential was recognized on our first visit to the Motor City.
- Walking into Chiipss in Plymouth, Michigan, some of the Emerica crew met Pat Miller, who knew about the DIY skatepark project, and mentioned that Emerica pal Joe Brook was involved. Pat was already planning a Good Wood art show/auction/fundraiser benefiting Sculpture Park and at that point it was obvious that there really was a lot of potential here.
- While working on these initial planning stages, Mark Waters began to see how everything could come together. His official role is helping Emerica organize and produce Wild in the Streets, but seeing the potential of putting all these things together was an exciting prospect, and he started working on orchestrating all the moving parts and will be doing that throughout the process. Waters is also activating the Boards for Bros program in Detroit.
- Boards For Bros is a group of skateboarders working together to collect and refurbish skateboards so they can be redistributed back into the community for children who cannot afford their own. The group started in Tampa, largely through Ryan Clements and the Skatepark of Tampa crew, and in 2010, Emerica joined forces with Boards For Bros and helped expand the reach. That continued in 2011, with Wild in the Streets Los Angeles, where Emerica and Boards For Bros donated 127 complete skateboards to the Salesian Park Boys and Girls Club in East Los Angeles. In 2012, Boards For Bros will be working with shops in the greater Detroit area to collect and refurbish 100 or more skateboards for the kids of Power House ‘Hood. Boards For Bros’ Mission Statement: To inspire kids to use skateboarding as a gateway to a healthy life by giving them refurbished skateboards through a joint industry effort.
- Rob Woelkers, from Plus Skateboards in Farmington, heard wind of all the conversations, and got enthusiastic, as any skateboard lifer would, and came on board with lots of help on everything: route planning, spreading the word, helping to book the bands and venue for the after-party — basically Rob was/is down to help with anything having to do with Detroit skateboarding.
- Last minute, plans for the after-party went a different direction and Jay Navarro of the Suicide Machines and Break Anchor came in and set up an amazing bill for the night of June 21st at Modern Skatepark. Jay’s band Break Anchor will be playing, along with Child Bite, Drunk Dom and the Roaches, Snakewing, and Wristrocket. Eric from Refuge also helped reaching out to bands and with the screen printing of the amazing show poster, with art done by Mark Penxa.
- Modern Skatepark, Plus Skateboards, Chiipss, Detroit City Skateboards, Refuge, Oakland Vert, and TruClass are all supporting Boards For Bros and the RideIt Sculpture Park by offering a 10% donation off any Emerica product the same day that a donation is made to Boards For Bros.
- T-Mo, Snowman, The Gut, PAtlanta and a handful of other experienced concrete sculptors will be arriving in Detroit in early June to start building RideIt Sculpture Park. These guys have built parks and spots all over the country and are perfect for this project.
- The folks from the Roosevelt Park Revival have been an ally in the project since the beginning and will be involved in the project going forward. More info to follow.
There will be more information available, more people involved. Want to get involved? Write to mark_at_skatepunk_dot_com to see how you can help.