A Cuban flag blew in the wind outside Wyn317 in Wynwood to welcome skateboard and art enthusiasts alike, who gathered for a good cause, filling the gallery to its capacity.
The Cubaskate charity exhibition and auction “Art on the Deck” featured artists like Abstrk, Atomik, Buddha Funk, Cope2, Diana Contreras, Hox, Ivan Roque, Luis Berros, Luis Valle, Trek6 and Yuhmi Collective.
Says participating Miami artist Luis Berros, “We share the idea that political views should not obstruct youths from having a safe place to unwind and even enjoy themselves through the simple act of play.” He adds, “I wanted to create something that someone would pay good money for to enjoy and at the same time raise funds for the cause, so I created a simple outline of a teenage girl with an uncertain stare and love for her surroundings, regardless of what that may be.”
The themes of the artworks, all painted onto skate decks, ranged from skate culture to graffiti and music. Many of the artists participating in the fundraising efforts let themselves be inspired by Cuba. Some incorporated the colors of the Cuban flag and others explored their relationship to Cuba or skateboarding through their respective signature styles.
As the American-born son of Cuban exiles, Abstrk, who used to skateboard, felt “almost a sense of responsibility to contribute something to this movement.” Adds Abstrk, “I used to skateboard in buildings and around the city and never had a skate park to go to. If I can be a small part of contributing to giving someone an outlet and place to do their thing, then that is a good feeling.”
The mission of Cubaskate, founded by the two avid skaters Lauren and Miles after their study abroad experience in Cuba in 2010, is to bring skate materials to Cuban youth, establish skate shops, renovate skate parks in cities like La Habana and San Antonio de los Banos, and foster an educational exchange between Cuba and the United States.
The current Cubaskate project is the El Patinodromo skate park in Havana, a popular hangout spot for local youth. The park, which provides a safe environment to skate and spend time with friends is in desperate need of repairs and Cubaskate has created a multi-year plan for the park’s renovation.
The funding for the renovations and the other long-term goals promoting skateboarding as a healthy pastime for Cuban youth is sourced through donations as well as the auctioning of art. The latest edition of the art auction “Art on the Deck,” was held in Miami at Wyn317, a gallery known for working with young talent merging street art with fine art.
Says gallery director Danielle Pino, “Most importantly, it was for a good cause and both my parents were born in Cuba. I am aware of the lack of resources and outlets available to young people. Additionally, this was an opportunity to involve many of the talented artists I represent. They enjoyed having another outlet for creativity and self expression through another form of ‘street art.’”
For more information on Cubaskate visit www.cubaskate.com and for information on upcoming exhibitions and artists at Wyn317 visit www.wyn317.com