This skate plaza in Missouri (YES, Missouri is way ahead of us) was built at zero cost to the small town of Poplar Bluff (less than 20,000 as of the 2010 Census). To view more pictures of the plaza, click here. The multi-use community green space was funded with grants for promoting active lifestyles, and decreasing childhood obesity. Yes it did cost quite a bit of money, but it didn’t come out of the budget of Poplar Bluff. The cost was funded by your tax dollars, and my tax dollars. Why not bring this spending to our community. Bring more opportunities to enjoy being outside, bring more sense of community in Stark County and promote a positive view of skateboarding here. I urge you all to participate in the election process. Know your candidates. Know the issues of how your local taxes are collected and disbursed. These trustees and council members are the people that decide to build a Plaza in your town. If they don’t support your ideas then you and/or your parents should VOTE THEM OUT! Don’t support a council that would ban you from your town. Don’t support a police chief that would ticket you rather than help you get this built. Serve & Protect. This would be the “Serve” part. For towns & cities that don’t have all the money, or sometimes may not have any, it is up to each and every one of us to raise the expectations of our representatives. If you always give what you give, then you will always get what you get. For a list of your Stark County election information, click here. Have your parents call your parks department supervisor, your mayor, your police chief, your trustees and council members, or have your parents help you write a letter. Write a letter in English class. Let these elected officials hear the need.
Making his pieces in a space behind Borelli Gallery in Pittsburgh where he also works during the day, Canton native Ron Copeland is producing some of the most interesting and inspired art we’ve seen. Its punk, collage, vintage, pin-up, post industrial, found & repurposed. It is also right at home next to some of the great Pop artists from the 60s.
“The inspiration for my work comes from growing up in the heart of post industrial America,” he says.
Always a bit of an explorer, Ron has ventured in to buildings and spaces that most people would avoid on a sunny day. First as a kid in Perry, then looking for skate spots as a professional inline skater, and now to document what it means to live in an America that has lost its heart & soul to the decline of the factory experience. He takes pictures and finds materials to use in those forgotten places that are like sets in a SAW movie.
Though his status in the art community is growing, Ron says his stint as a pro inline skater was a great achievement. Avoiding the typical pitfalls of adolescence he instead got to travel the country doing demos, skating, and making friends (somewhere out there is the footage of him spinning off the EJ Thomas Roof). He was also behind the camera for the Screaming Lady on YouTube.
“We were in canton south…at a right aid parking lot and that lady flew up outta nowhere in her car. I feel bad that she got so upset by the whole thing (&) I pretty much tried to calm her down. She was too much.”
As far as daily challenges, Ron states that the biggest challenge is being poor and still productive. Finding the time and energy to balance work, play, and creative impulse. They Don’t call it starving artist for nothin!
If you would like to check out his art there is a show in Cleveland at Arts Collinwood called “Pretty Vacant”. It starts Febuary 1st. There is also a solo Chicago show scheduled for May, as well as others. Stay posted on Facebook for dates.
Arts Collinwood is at:
15605 Waterloo Rd
Cleveland, OH 44110