UMD student and instructor paint for Plys With Purpose
Plys with Purpose, an exhibition and silent auction held at Prove Gallery, is a collection of 30 hand painted skateboard decks crafted by local, national, and international artists.
Emma Spooner, a sophomore at UMD, was asked to paint a deck for the exhibit. She is a studio art major, and daughter to Peter Spooner, who curated the Tweed Art Museum from 1994 to 2012.
“It was great as a child to go to the Tweed and spend a ton of time with him looking at art,” Spooner said. “To get the exposure that comes with that makes it easier to explore the art community.”
Betsy Hunt, an Associate Professor at UMD’s School of Fine Arts, also designed a board for the showcase.
“It’s very valuable for me to show work in Duluth, especially for my friends and students who are able to see,” said Hunt.
Spooner expressed excitement that she had an opportunity to showcase her work alongside her instructor’s.
“It’s really cool that she is also a public artist, in addition to her teaching. It shows in what she brings to the classroom,” Spooner said.
Hunt’s deck is a colorful number, mixing shapes and textures to create a very loud collage.
“I designed this piece with leftover scraps from another one of my artworks,” Hunt said. “I made it into a colorful animation.”
Spooner’s piece was an exercise in texture and color, combining an intricate tiling illusion with a wide range of blue in the middle to match the peach on the nose and tail.
“I have been doing a lot of work recently with geometric designs, and the tiling kind of crossed over from that,” Spooner said. “I tried to inject some 90’s Southern California styling into my deck.”
Damage Boardshop, which has had a role in all of the 4 annual editions of the exhibit, was also instrumental in this years edition. Ben Olson, the shop owner at Damage, told of the efforts involved.
“There's different bits and pieces we help handle every time the event comes around. We create a good buzz and help get the word out since Damage is the central hub of skateboarding in Duluth,” Olson said.
Damage Boardshop is also a place for select artists to get their work on display, creating skateboards with unique designs and art.
“We reach out to different artists to create boards in the skate community and skateboard industry itself,” Olson said.
The proceeds from the silent auction will go towards the building of a brand new, state-of-the art skate park for the Gary New Duluth restoration project.
The park in question will be designed by nationally-recognized skate park designer Mark Leski, also known as “The Wizard”. Damage also has had a hand in shaping the skatepark.
"Design of the skateboard park itself is another thing we've been working with closely," Olson said.
To enter a bid on a board in the exhibit or view the works, they will be on display at the Prove Gallery on N Lake Ave. in downtown Duluth.