If you -- or your kid -- have been dreaming of making your own custom skateboard decks, don't miss this week's three-day Build Your Own Skateboard Workshop at Art Lab Fort Collins, 239 Linden Street, starting on Friday, February 24 at 4:30 p.m. The $60 workshop, which continues February 25 and February 26, is presented by local nonprofit Launch: Community Through Skateboarding, includes materials and instruction for designing, shaping, finishing, painting and griptaping your custom deck, and comes with a 15 percent discount coupon to hook up trucks, wheels and bearings through MRKT, a local skate shop.
"When we first started doing these DIY workshops, we thought a lot of younger kids would be interested, but it's turned out to be really popular with people of all ages and we've been getting kids, teenagers, adults, parents coming in with their kids, everybody," says Launch co-founder (and former MRKT owner) Andy Weiss.
"For this workshop, we're teaming up with Paul Schmitt's Create A Skate, which is a program designed for junior high and high school wood-shop classes, so you'll get an uncut blank to start with and you'll end up with a ready-to-ride skateboard deck, but what you're really getting is an experience where you learn about the history of skateboarding and the advantages of different skateboard shapes and you put some math, science, design and manufacturing principles to work to create something you'll be stoked to have made yourself."
We first caught up with Weiss in August, just as Launch was launching and trying to raise money for the Launch Creative Center, a proposed community space that Weiss hopes will one day feature a skateboarding museum, library and gallery, an indoor ramp and a permanent workshop and art studio space for hosting projects like Create A Skate.
"We're still looking for an ideal space," Weiss says. "But in the meantime, it's been great that we've been able to have some events at our local skateparks and start some of our programming without having a location, through partnerships with local schools and with great spaces like the Art Lab."
The most popular program so far is the "Honor Roll" Skate to Success program that Weiss and his Launch partners introduced for the 2011-12 school year, offering MRKT Skateshop gift certificates between $25 and $150 each semester to Fort Collins students registered for the program who can keep their grade-point average between 2.75 and 4.0.
"Skateboarders understand incentives for performing well," explains Weiss. "It's been pretty exciting to see all these kids working hard to get their grades up."
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