Statewide arts program inspires skatepark makeover in Miami
Teams of art students from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College will lead local youth in giving the local skatepark in Miami a makeover with graffiti-style painting from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 200 5th Ave. N.E.
The project is the result of a two-day session at the Historic Coleman Theatre that brought 31 arts enthusiasts from cities across Oklahoma to Miami as part of Leadership Arts, an Oklahoma Arts Council program that teaches participants why and how the arts make a significant contribution to Oklahoma’s economy, how communities have developed arts programs and vibrant arts spaces to enhance quality of life, how the arts improve the image of cities and neighborhoods while serving as a centerpiece for community engagement, and how the arts cultivate creativity, attracting and retaining a creative workforce.
The experience inspired a businessman from Norman, Oklahoma to join forces with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and the Miami Arts and Humanities Council help fund the public art project in an effort to breathe new life into the skatepark, help the community reconnect with an important recreational asset and beautify a highly visible part of the city.
Ryan Goza, a recent graduate of the arts program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, is the lead designer on the project. NEO art students have been working on designs for the park for several weeks, and the community is invited to participate in the painting.
A 36-year-old professional spray paint artist from Greene County, Missouri, near Springfield, known only as “Grandpa Jankins,” will demonstrate his graffiti-style painting techniques and discuss the legal and ethical standards of the art form at 1:30 p.m.
According to Jankins, he has been a spray paint artist for about 20 years, has won multiple contests, and has been getting paid for his graffiti-style art work for the past eight years. He has three children who have also gravitated to the art form.
He said demand for his work has significantly increased over the past two years in cities from Los Angeles to Little Rock, reflecting what he describes as a national trend of increased demand for art in public spaces.