Urbane reaches into fresh media with group skate deck show | SteamboatToday.com

Urbane reaches into fresh media with group skate deck show

Margaret Hair

— Urbane clothing store’s owners had an interest in skate gear, 40 blank decks bought on discount and an idea.

For about a month, Urbane has been selling the blank decks for $15 to local artists, with loose directions to decorate the wood ellipses any way they want, in any medium they want. Each deck also requires a $15 deposit, to be returned when the piece makes its way back to the shop.

On Monday, Urbane co-owners Mel LeBlanc and Trent Kolste will collect all the returned, hand-designed skate decks for the store’s May 1 First Friday Artwalk group show. The work will be on display through the end of May.

“I just thought it was something fun to do, something different : to get people thinking outside of the box about what they can do with their artwork,” LeBlanc said. By early this week, the store had given out about 30 blank skateboards, she said.

Urbane will add skate apparel and gear to its merchandise this spring, and it already has a number of shelf and wall spaces that are about the same size as a standard skateboard.

“We’ll have full setups, decks, the whole deal, so we wanted to go into that with the skate deck art show, and it seemed like a really interesting medium to do,” LeBlanc said.

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Mike Benninghoven does graphic design work for Urbane, helps organize in-store art shows and is the featured artist there this month. He said he has completed one deck for the show. The piece features a Mexican wrestler design originally intended as an advertisement graphic.

In addition to participating in First Friday Artwalk each month and rotating local art on its walls, Urbane also hopes to do an open, call-for-artists group show each quarter, Benninghoven said.

“It’s part of Trent’s and my idea that we want to get new artists, and especially younger artists in town, involved in the arts scene,” Benninghoven said.

All skate decks are due to the store by the time it closes Monday, so interested artists who have not picked up a blank deck at Urbane need to do that soon, LeBlanc said. The show also is open to artists who design their own decks; boards not purchased at Urbane can be entered in the show for $10 each. Artists have the option to price their work for sale; unsold decks can be picked up at the end of May.