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All of Downtown Rochester Getting On Board for This Spring's 'Deck Art' Fest

You don't have to be a skateboarder to take part in the next big thing to hit our downtown.

Two years ago, downtown Rochester business owners Linda Gallaher and Christine Laikind had an idea for an art competition and gallery event.

The canvas would be a skateboard deck. The medium could be anything an artist's imagination embraced: paint, typography, hand-blown glass - even feathers.

They called their event Deck Art, and in this third year, it has evolved to an all-of-downtown event.

"The Downtown Development Authority and the merchants around us have really embraced us," said Gallaher, owner of South Street Skateshop, where the empty boards can be reserved starting today.

Last year Deck Art drew 130 artists from across southeast Michigan; this year Gallaher is hoping to attract even more.

Gallaher describes Deck Art as a skateboard art competition and exhibition. Artists are asked to provide their unique work on a blank skateboard deck. Decks will be judged on creativity and uniqueness within appropriate categories. Prizes will be given to winners within each category.

Here's how the competition works:

  • Pick up a registration form starting today at South Street Skateshop, 410 Main St. Anyone can be an artist: from elementary school students to adults and even corporate teams.
  • There's a $20 (plus tax) registration fee, which includes a blank skateboard deck. 
  • The registration deadline is April 26.

The Deck Art 2013 kickoff will be 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 16. Besides the deck art exhibit sneak preview, there will be family and kids' activities. Then, the show gets under way with an exhibition crawl from 5-9 p.m. Friday, May 17. Downtown businesses will display the artwork.

"This is our spring event," said Stephanie Schwager, events coordinator with the Rochester DDA. "This isn't about skateboarding; this is about art."

Laikind, former owner of Firebrick Gallery and Pottery Studio, told Patch after the event was created in 2011 that skateboarding and art, as a culture, work well together.

"There are inner-connections there; this contest highlights that," she said.

Related story: Art and Skateboarding Come Together for Downtown Rochester Shops' Unique Contest

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