Artists needed to design decks for skateboard art competition

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 16, 2016


ROCHESTER — Pretty much anything goes when decorating a skateboard deck for downtown Rochester’s sixth annual Deck Art competition.

South Street Skateshop co-owner Linda Gallaher — who coordinates the event with her husband, Von, their staff and the Rochester Downtown Development Authority — said the skateboard art exhibition and competition allows participants to use a blank skateboard deck as their canvas.

The competition is open to elementary, middle and high school students, as well college students and adults, and Gallaher offered a piece of advice to those wary of joining in the fun.

“Do not feel intimidated. This is really about participating and having fun with art. You do not have to feel like you are a professional artist (to enter). It’s really about participating, having fun and putting your unique artwork on display for others to enjoy,” she said.

Last year over 430 people participated, and this year Gallaher hopes to see even more entries. At press time, over 70 people had already registered and had received their decks, she said.

“We are thrilled about how well this event is received by the community and even outside of the community. So far we have sent out three decks to different states, so that is exciting. One went to Illinois, one went to New York, and another one went to California so far,” Gallaher said.

Registration, which costs $20 plus tax, began Feb. 1 and will continue through May 1. Registration forms are available online at or at South Street Skateshop, 410 S. Main St. in downtown Rochester.

Those who choose to participate can use any medium to design two- or three-dimensional pieces for the competition — which will be displayed in more than 50 downtown Rochester restaurants and businesses May 19-20.

“It is really spectacular to see the intricacy and the uniqueness of the pieces,” Gallaher said. “We have seen handblown glass. We’ve seen three-dimensional pieces — like picnic tables made out of skateboard decks. We’ve seen the decks cut up into three-dimensional shapes and embellished that way. We’ve seen them made into guitars. … We have seen melted wax on boards, a lot of paint markers, and some will even do very intricate three-dimensional pieces.”

Rochester Hills artist Julie Frontera, a former first-place winner in the adult category, has registered to participate in her fifth Deck Art competition.

“I’m a big fan of public art. I think it’s a really cool way for people to get out and see what’s going on, that art doesn’t have to be painting and drawing — there are a lot of other mediums you can use that is still art,” Frontera said. “That’s the draw from me.”

New this year, the Paint Creek Center for the Arts will provide judges for the competition, who will award prizes to one winning entry within each category. Last year, the public judged the entries.

“They will be people from the art community who have an eye for things like this, so I think they will really do a nice job with the judging,” Gallaher said.

Ribbons will be placed on winning entries before Deck Art 2016’s Thursday Night Kickoff, hosted by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority 5-9 p.m. May 19. The evening will include a sneak peek at Deck Art 2016 entries, as well as activities for children, food and entertainment. Events will continue 5-9 p.m. May 20.

For more information about the competition, visit or call (248) 651-0555.