Community invited to create skateboard art for annual competition

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 4, 2015

 Kyle and Rikki Danley, from Danley Wood and Iron, entered the corporate category of the competition last year with this piece

Kyle and Rikki Danley, from Danley Wood and Iron, entered the corporate category of the competition last year with this piece

Photo provided


ROCHESTER — People of all ages have begun to tap into their creativity in preparation for downtown Rochester’s fifth annual skateboard art competition this spring.

Dubbed Deck Art 2015, the competition invites elementary, middle and high school students, as well college students, adults and businesses, to use a blank skateboard as their canvas.

Event organizer Linda Gallaher, who owns South Street Skateshop with her husband, Von Gallaher, began handing out blank decks to participants Feb. 2.

Over the years, Gallaher has seen a variety of deck décor, including paintings, carvings, melted wax, collages, hand-blown glass placed on the decks, and much more.

“Anything goes, as long as it is the artist’s original artwork,” she said. “We have received two-dimensional pieces and 3-D pieces; art placed on boards vertically or horizontally, top or bottom. A lot of people — last year, as well as this year — are purchasing more than one deck. Some people are doing multiple entries. Other people are purchasing two or three decks to use as one entry, so we are seeing a lot of creativity that way, as well. Some boards will even come back to us all cut up and put back together however they want to present it. The artwork is very unique.”

Last year’s Deck Art competition drew over 420 artists from all over southeastern Michigan, California, Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Arizona and Canada, and Gallaher expects Deck Art 2015 to draw even more.

“We’re excited to see what comes our way this year,” she said.

Approximately 99 percent of those who create a piece for the competition do not skateboard, according to Gallaher.

“This isn’t about skateboarding at all; it’s all about art — that’s really important for people to know and remember. The skateboard just happens to be the canvas that they use,” she said. “So many people, especially younger people, can identify with that canvas, and the older generation are excited to use this novelty item as a canvas, so it is exciting for everybody.”

Rochester residents Jeff and Cheryl Perkins and their 12-year-old daughter, Eve, have each created decks for the show for the past couple years,  and they plan to enter decks in this year’s competition. Jeff, a designer for General Motors, and Cheryl, a portrait painter and a teacher at the College for Creative Studies, said they always welcome the invitation to get their creative juices flowing.

“This time of year, it’s really nice to have a project with an end date, instead of just doing art for the fun of it, which is nice also, but it’s really kind of fun to have an event out of it, too,” Jeff Perkins said.

Over the years, Jeff has covered decks in paintings of vintage cars and motorcycles. His wife has done oil-painting portraits of celebrities  — including The Jackson 5 and Farrah Fawcett — while their daughter has decorated her boards with collages of famous women and with splatter paint in the style of Jackson Pollock.

“People talk about culture in the city, and this event just shows that downtown Rochester supports the arts,” Jeff said. “It’s a fun event.”

Completed artwork will be displayed throughout participating restaurants and businesses for downtown patrons to enjoy as they stroll in and out of stores May 14-15. Adding to the festivities will be food and side-street entertainment. The public will once again judge the entries, and awards will be given to the top three in each category.

Those interested in entering the competition must drop off a $20 entry fee, plus tax, and an entry form at South Street Skateshop, 410 Main St. in downtown Rochester before May 1.

Registration forms are available now at South Street Skateshop, or they may be printed from Blank decks are available for pickup at South Street Skateshop.

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