SAFETY HARBOR — A local art project is bringing new life to the Ian Tilmann Skate Park through a partnership of the city, Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center, local artists and community members.
Paint the Park, an effort to beautify the vertical surfaces of the skateboarding area, is the brainchild of Heather Richardson, founder and events coordinator of the SHAMC. For more than five years Richardson has dreamed of painting the skate park.
“It’s a focal point of the park and there are a lot of kids there all the time,” she said. “And it’s just kind of boring to me.”
Last year, Richardson was able to secure a grant through the Pinellas Community Foundation and funding from the City and the SHAMC Artreach project made the idea a reality.
Ian Tilmann Skate Park was closed March 14 to begin the two-week project. Surfaces will be pressure washed and prepared for painting. On Monday, March 21, local middle and high school students will come to the park and help to paint a section under the guidance of Beth Warmath, a local artist who is leading the project design.
“There is no school that day, and kids can sign up for slots to come out and help us paint,” Richardson said.
During that same time, local artists will be painting the vertical surfaces of the park using a “skater” theme with botanical elements incorporated into the design.
“Safety Harbor is a beautiful, botanical place,” Richardson said. “So we wanted to have some tropical plants mixed in alongside the skater silhouettes.”
On March 26, the mostly finished project will be unveiled at the Paint the Park Celebration. On that day, anyone who would like to help paint the final section of wall is invited to join in.
“Any member of the community can jump in and paint,” said Shannon Schafer, Safety Harbor recreation superintendent. “We are also encouraging people to bring old skate decks to donate to Boards for Bros.”
Boards for Bros is a local non-profit group that takes old skate decks and refurbishes them. The boards are then donated to kids and teens who can’t afford them.
The group will be at the event and will have a skate deck and helmet decorating station set up. People can bring their own decks and helmets to paint, or the equipment will be provided to people who need them. Decorated skate decks and helmets will be available for sale on that day and there will be a contest for the best painted skate deck and helmet.
In addition to the community painting projects, there will also be live painting demonstrations by local artists, skateboarding demonstrations and contests. Live music will be provided, and other vendors will be on site.
Students must sign up for one-hour slots to paint on March 21 by emailing Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no sign up needed to paint at the event on March 26.
Paint the Park will be held on Saturday, March 26, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Ian Tilmann Skate Park, 940 7th St. S. in Safety Harbor. For more information, call 727-724-1530.