By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – With little regard for the adults hovering nearby, a gang of nearly two dozen young people swarmed the Morinville Skate Park Wednesday afternoon, making use of an equal number of cans of spray paint to cover the popular sports park in graffiti. But the bombing and tagging wasn’t a case of mayhem in Morinville. The paint was supplied by the Town and the taggers invited to participate.
Morinville’s Community Program Facilitator, Tyler Edworthy, said the painting project was in keeping with the original intent of the skate park. “The whole idea behind the skate park when it was first developed was to have a place just for the youth that they could call their own,” he said, adding by allowing young people to come to the park and do their markings in a supervised fashion, it would perhaps reduce some of the graffiti around town.
Edworthy said he was a bit surprised by this year’s turnout. Although six young people were registered for Wednesday’s event, several children simply dropped in and were soon joined by pretty much everyone using the park, a situation that sent Town staff back to the hardware store to buy more spray paint.
The investment in additional paint paid off. An enthusiastic army of spray painters produced a variety of designs, names and illustrations on the ramps, bowls and top surfaces of the skate park. Many of the designs became collaborative efforts as a design completed by one person would be embellished with additional colour and work by another.
And when there was little area left to cover, several youth began covering some of the more inappropriate designs created by less creative and crasser craftsmen who do their work uninvited.
Although the Town undoubtedly appreciated the assistance, the youth themselves appreciated being made to feel part of the community.
For 12-year-old Lyssa, there was enjoyment in being allowed to do something traditionally frowned upon by adults. “It was pretty fun because I wouldn’t get in trouble for spray painting,” she said, adding the invitation showed the Town of Morinville cares about its young people and their artistic abilities.
For Hunter, 11, the opportunity to let loose with a can of spray paint allowed him to mark the spot where he broke a tooth earlier this summer when he did a face plant off his skateboard as well as an opportunity to express his creative side in other areas of the park. “It was really fun,” he said of the collaborative efforts of nearly two dozen young artists. “It’s making the park look better, and it’s a way for artists to express their feelings.”
The Morinville Skate Park is located opposite the Skyline Baseball Diamonds near the Morinville Fish and Game Club.