Zombies, the Container Park's praying mantis and the haunting black and white portrait of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining—these are just a few of the 160 hand-painted skateboards on display during the Artists for Autism Skateboard Project inside the City of the World Art Gallery. The exhibit, which had its official opening on First Friday, was coordinated by the Autism Community Trust, a local non-profit that organizes fundraisers for autism charities, and City of the World in Downtown Las Vegas.
On opening day, more than 40 boards had already been sold, with all proceeds going to Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Southern Nevada. Ranging in price from $100 to $300, with a few pricier designs, like a tiled mosaic lion board for $700, the painted boards are hardly recognizable as their original tape-deck forms.
“Last year we did Guitars for Autism and it was natural to partner with the Arts District … and City of the World,” says ACT Executive Director Julie Ostrovsky. “It was such a success we moved on to skateboards.”
But using skateboards in place of canvas wasn’t just an aesthetic decision. Local business Sports Social works with kids of all abilities, including those with autism, to teach social skills through sports like skateboarding. “We took that passion that our kids have for skateboards and asked the artists to create these amazing pieces of artwork,” Ostrovsky says.
City of the World founder and director Roz Knight also works with people who have special needs as an art teacher, so her decision to host the event was easy. “I believe art is a way of life and that’s what gives us peace,” she says. “And everybody should have it.” The boards will be on display and on sale through December 27.