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Gallery showcases art with skateboards as medium

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad library’s William D. Cannon Art Gallery is rolling out opportunities for art education and personal expression for visitors with its “Full Deck: A Short History of Skate Art” exhibit. Since it’s opening on Oct. 7, the gallery has been hosting lectures, class field trips and last Saturday’s Family Open Studios Plus.

The gallery’s events focus on “giving our community really high quality experiences that explore many aspects of art forms,” said Colleen Finnegan, Carlsbad’s Community Arts coordinator.

Carlsbad’s Lindsey Lupo and her daughter Harrison, 2, talk about the skate deck’s bright colors as they walk along the gallery’s 275-plus skateboards. Photo by Rachel Stine

Created by dozens of artists including Tom Ledin, Thom Lessner, and Joel Jutagir, the exhibit’s skateboards portrayed subjects ranging from skulls to teddy bears, pencils to scenes from the movie “The Big Lebowski.”

In addition to the more than 275 skateboards on display, the Nov. 17 family event also featured art projects for children as well as a skate video with local footage accompanied by a film score performed live on stage.

Participants were given paper skate decks to decorate with colored tape and markers, as volunteers encouraged them to think about creating distinct images to convey a brand with their creations.

Bobbi, a stay at home mom from Carlsbad, has taken her kids Zoe, 6, and Leo, 4, to each of the gallery’s exhibits over the past couple of years. “It’s great for them to see art and then go create their own,” she said, as her children ambled about the gallery.

The event also included two showings of a skateboard video by videographer and Bones Wheels team manager Jared Lucas. Eric Derr, a UCSD doctoral candidate in percussion performance, composed a score for the film and played it live at the showings.

“I’m hoping something like this will spark an interest in music or sound (in the audience members),” said Derr after his first performance.

Abby Sitzman, 11, of Oceanside, works on his nautical-themed skate deck at the Family Open Studios Plus event at the Cannon Art Gallery at the Carlsbad Dove Library. Photo by Rachel Stine.

Children were allowed to hop on stage and play the instruments after the performance to try and mimic the skateboard-like sounds Derr created.

“I like the exhibit because there were all these cool skateboards,” said Ian McFarland, 9, after he banged on one of Derr’s drums.

The next Family Open Studios event will be Feb. 9 and will accompany next year’s Juried Biennial Exhibition.

Aside from the Family Open Studios Plus events, the gallery hosts about 4,000 to 5,000 Carlsbad elementary school students every year over the course of its four to five rotating exhibits, said Tonya Rodzach, Carlsbad’s Arts Education director.