After years and years of skateboarding being illegal in Taos New Mexico, the Taos Skatepark broke ground in August 2000. It was complete by spring 2001. The skatepark idea started sometime in 1999 when preteens and young adults started planning and raising money. The majority of the funding ended up coming from artist Agnes Martin.
The crew of kids that got Taos skatepark built… This picture hangs on the wall of Taos youth and family center.
During the heyday of the Taos Skatepark, 20 to 30 people a day would enjoy the smooth cement and beautiful scenery. Hot days leading to cooling sunsets, fun, friends and four wheels, good times were had by all who were lucky enough to use the park.
Skateboarding breeds creativity. Skateboarders live at skate parks, its our home, its our monument. The Taos Skatepark is a living sculpture.
Unfortunately, in recent years the Taos Skatepark has fallen into disrepair. Harsh winters and little to no maintenance have led to deteriorating flat bottoms, choppy transitions and huge cracks. Many basic obstacles are now un-skateable. While being a blessing, the park lacks basic obstacles needed in the first place. The fact is, nobody cares more about the park than the skateboarders who use it. If you want something done you need to do it yourself. I am proposing the park gets turned into a DIY skatepark.
Examples of the disrepair at Taos skatepark
DIY skateparks are not a new concept. The idea comes naturally with skateboarding. You don’t have anything to skate so you use what you have to create something. Fun is the final product. Skateparks created and kept up by the people who use them.
The earliest example of this is Burnside Skatepark in Portland Oregon. Built under a freeway overpass, Burnside is probably the most famous of all DIY skateparks.
Burnside skatepark (Picture taken from the internet)
Soon after other communities saw similar projects pop up… FDR skatepark in Philadelphia and Channel street skate park in San Pedro California are other famous examples of DIY skate parks.
FDR and Channel street skateparks (Pictures taken from the internet)
Burnside, FDR and channel street all started with nothing. Taos skatepark would be unique in that we are starting with an existing skatepark! The first steps would be to fix problem areas… The large sections of crumbling flat bottoms could be fixed by piling dirt on top and covering the dirt with cement creating bumps as seen at parks like Burnside and FDR.
Top: Taos parks flat bottom. Bottom 2: Example of bumps at Burnside (Picture taken from the internet) and FDR skatepark
Existing obstacles that were harder to skate could be added to and changed to be easier to access and skate.
Top: ledge at Taos park. Bottom: example of a DIY quarter pipe (Picture taken from the internet)
Unused areas of the enclosed skate park area could be paved to bring more space for skateboarders to utilize.
Unused areas of Taos Skatepark
Basic obstacles could be add… An easily approachable flat bar, ledges and manual pads are obstacles that the park has always lacked.
Examples of ledges, flat bars and manual pads (Pictures taken from the internet)
Just adding these few things could start a whole revolution where the skatepark becomes entity that brings the community together and reflects Taos’s creative roots. In the future maybe it could include real(possibly skate-able) sculptures! The farthest extent of this project could lead to the skatepark to be covered, possibly by solar panels! Skateboarding could literally give back to the community!
The idea is “do it yourself” AKA: DIY… But local Taos skateboarders can’t do this alone! We need the help of the community and the outside skateboard world! Together we can create a skatepark that people travel from all over the world to skate and possibly add to. Together we can breathe life into a living sculpture! PLEASE HELP US FIX OUR SKATEPARK!!!
As of now this is just a dream of mine! This page is an example to help start the movement. I am looking at this as an art project but it is less about me and my art than it is about giving back to my community and the activity that has given me so much! Please check back to see how the project has progressed!
Peace and Love!