Vashon Island non-profit Rj’s Kids has found a new way to raise funds for its renovation of the Burton Adventure Recreation Park (BARC) — a raffle to win one of four re-imagined skateboards created by island artists.
The fundraiser’s goal is to provide for additional outdoor skate features, an improved disc golf course and improved BMX bike trails at the park, all beyond the scope of a major state grant awarded to the nonprofit in May. With more support, Rj’s Kids will be able to develop and improve the park’s accessibility for elderly and disabled people, fulfilling the ultimate vision of the Vashon Park District’s original master plan for the facility, deemed Phase 3 of the project.
Judith Neary, the founder of Rj’s Kids, says the inspiration for the raffle came from the Broken Board Art Show, a skater owned and operated recycled skateboard art show based out of Atlanta. Neary said that the Broken Board Art Show changed her attitude and perception of skate culture, so she was moved to ask Vashon artists to try the same approach.
“I’m incredibly impressed with the graphics these artists used on the skateboard decks,” Neary said.
She added that the fundraiser will go toward completing the work left to do as part of Phase 3.
“I would love to raise $100,000 to finish Phase 3 of the BARC, but if we only raise $1,000 and change people’s perception of what the BARC is and could be, I’ll consider it a successful event,” she said.
In May, Rj’s Kids was able to reach — and exceed — its goal of raising the $75,000 matching component of a state Youth Athletic Facilities grant, amounting to $150,000 total, for the construction of Washington’s first concrete pump track at BARC.
For the raffle, artists Pam Ingalls, David Erue, Brian Brenno and Tara Brenno each drew from their imaginations to create skateboards that have been painted, made of glass and sculpted from re-purposed license plates, making artwork for the lucky winners of this fundraising raffle.
Pam Ingalls, known for her dreamlike portraits and landscapes, was given one of Rj’s skateboard decks and painted it with a luminous image of a skateboard in motion. Brian Brenno used two glass sheets around a copper image of a salmon, while Tara Brenno chose ceramic paint from a cake decorator to present a stylized drawing, also inside two glass panes. David Erue, whose medium is metal, made a skateboard out of recycled license plates and other found items that are light enough to be hung on a wall. The idea behind the skateboard decks was to give the impression of motion. The artworks will be on display in the bar at The Ruby Brink this month.
Rj’s Kids honors the life of Rj Ontiveros, an avid skater and Neary’s son, who died in 2015. The organization works to provide recreational opportunities for underserved populations of Vashon, mainly young people. Now, Neary’s concept for the park has broadened to include everyone, all ages, all skill levels, to make BARC the alternative park for all.
Kaden Lindstrom, who is coaching BARC’s beginning skate camp this summer, ages 7 – 12, says he’s thrilled about the developments at BARC.
“[I am] happy to see that the island is willing to invest in itself this way,” he said.
This version of the article corrects an editorial error that said the grant received by Rj’s Kids was awarded by King County. It was awarded by the state of Washington.