Where There’s A Wheel…

Skateboarding slides into the museum with the help of local teens

The original mothers of invention, skaters Stacy Peralta and the rest of the Dogtown crew, plunged into vacant pools and turned sidewalks into high-speed runways. What would they improvise as a playground today? That’s what the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s Park Studio program, which mentors high school kids, wanted to know.

The program supplied the tools and materials, and for a week over spring break the teenagers sketched shapes, punched them out of milled wood, and assembled 22 functional mini ramps and boxes that could send skateboarders soaring. “It’s not often that an adult trusts you with a huge saw and power drills,” says 16-year-old Emily Singer.

Their work, from the early drawings to fully assembled skate-friendly obstacles, is on display May 31 through July 6 as part of the museum’s Skaters and Makers exhibition. The concept originated with Gil Le Bon Delapointe, whose own skateboarding background informs his furniture designs. “Skateboarding is still alive today because of creativity, and that comes from the instinct to survive,” Delapointe says. We suspect that consummate skateboard maker Jeff Ho would agree.