Ellicottville skatepark fundraiser combines skateboard culture and art | News

ELLICOTTVILLE — The Ellicottville Skatepark Committee (SK8EVL) is closing in on the deadline to raise as much funding as possible to apply towards a matching grant that will pave the way to building an outdoor concrete skatepark for the community.

With Ellicottville’s Nov. 30 fundraising deadline quickly approaching, one final in-person event will give SK8EVL an opportunity to reach its goal, and it’s an event that combines skateboarding and art.

Skate-of-the-Art, a skate deck art auction, is set to take place 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at Fattey Beer Co. in Ellicottville. Skate-of-the-Art invited 50 artists to create one-of-a-kind works of art on blank skateboard decks, which will be auctioned off to the public in both live and silent auction formats.

All money raised will go to the Ellicottville Skatepark Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.

Ellicottville is the recipient of the “Built to Play” matching grant program through The Skatepark Project. Partnering with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, TSP’s Built to Play (BTP) grant offers qualifying Western New York communities up to $250,000 in matching funds to apply towards the construction of a permanent concrete skatepark that will be open to the public and free to use.

The Ellicottville Skatepark, to be located inside Ellicottville’s Village Park, will be available to the public at no charge upon completion. Construction is expected to begin next spring.

“Skateboarding in itself is an art form, and the artwork you find on skate decks is a great platform for creative freedom expressed by the skater culture,” said Brenda Perks, SK8EVL lead advocate.

Artists from Western New York, northern Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida and even California have answered the call to show their support for the cause. Ellicottville native Barbara Fox, Carey Welch and Lynn Timon, among others, will have boards up for bid on Nov. 6. Regional artists Sean Huntington, Michelle Capizzi, Chicago’s Katie Klimacek, La Mesa’s Zack Bryant and former Buffalo Bills kicker Steve Christie have all submitted pieces as well.

“Kathleen Shay, an art teacher at Archbishop Walsh in Olean, did an amazing piece titled, ‘Scarlet Begonias by the Grateful Dead,’ which is currently on display at Villaggio,” Perks said. “The first night it was there, we had someone interested in buying it on the spot. The quality of art that’s coming out of these artists is astounding. We’re expecting quite a few of them to go high.”

Perhaps the most sought-after deck making its way into the event is “The Birdman” by Comic-Con artist and Ellicottville resident Shad Nowicki, depicting skateboard legend and The Skatepark Project founder Tony Hawk. After completing his art deck, Nowicki’s “The Birdman” was carefully packaged and shipped out to TSP headquarters in California, where Tony Hawk himself is expected to sign and send it back in time for Skate-of-the-Art.

The SK8EVL committee has also teamed again with Ellicottville Central School art instructor Debbie McGowan to include student participation.

“Deb and her students helped us out last year for our soup bowl fundraiser. Now, students are creating their own mini masterpieces on 8-by-8-inch canvases, which will be displayed on a wall at the event,” said Perks. “All ticket holders will be entered into the mini-canvas raffle. If your number is called, you get to go up to the canvas wall and choose the student art you want to take home.”

McGowan and her students are anticipating 60-plus mini canvases to be available for the taking.

Other highlights of Skate-of-the-Art include:

• All ticket holders will be treated to complimentary appetizers donated by local restaurants Villaggio, Dina’s, EBC, Finnerty’s and Tim & Bonnie’s.

• All ticket holders 21 and older will receive a “one free beer” coupon, compliments of Fattey Beer Co.

• All ticket holders will be entered into the Door Prize raffle, which includes a Salomon Huck Knife Pro 155 snowboard donated by Snowflake/245 Board Shop, and a signed Tony Hawk poster, among other things.

Skate-of-the-Art will include both live and silent auctions and will feature the tag-team duo of Brooks LeFeber Auctions and emcee Pat Morgan, two names that are no strangers to the Ellicottville scene.

Tickets to Skate-of-the-Art are $10 each and can be purchased in advance in-person at ellicottvilleNOW/PandaGoat Media, 9 W. Washington St., through any SK8EVL committee member or Venmo (@Ellicottville-Skatepark).

For information, call Perks at (716) 244-7573. Learn more about the Ellicottville Skatepark project and how to contribute at sk8evl.com.

Angelia S. Rico

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