Wayfinding Skatepark is now open at the corner of Farmer and Monroe, featuring six skate-able elements inspired by Detroit as well as a performance space and public art installation featuring the work of contemporary artist, Ryan McGinness.
Born from a partnership between contemporary art gallery Library Street Collective, Bedrock, the Quicken Loans Family of Companies and the Cranbrook Art Museum, the modular park is designed to maximize fun as well as function as it’s primarily designed for movement.
Built on the 4,600-square-foot future location of the Bedrock Monroe Block development, the park is constructed without a permanent concrete infrastructure, allowing it to be moved easily come the start of construction in January of 2018.
George Leichtweis from Modern Skate Surf and a former legend of the 1970s Detroit skate scene was in charge of the park’s construction.
The project includes an art installation and skate park by artist Ryan McGinness, with help from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who is excited to see the skate scene thrive in Detroit.
“I think we made good use of the space thanks to Ryan, Bedrock and Quicken Loans and planted the seeds for bigger, more permanent parks around Detroit in the near future,” said Hawk.
McGinness utilized Hawk’s park design for the functional elements of the skatepark, including the ramps, rails and overall flow of the park.
“Ryan has explored narratives surrounding communication and language through the use of signs, including a past project commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation,” said Anthony Curis, Library Street Collective. “Wayfinding will be an extension of that research but will incorporate imagery specific to Detroit.”
The park was originally proposed by Library Street Collective, a local gallery that partners with Bedrock to infuse art into their many buildings and the public spaces surrounding them.
“Public art has been a major component of Library Street Collective’s mission since the inception of the gallery five years ago,” commented Curis. “For the past year we’ve been working with Cranbrook Art Museum on an exhibition with Ryan McGinness that will open in November 2017. Since Ryan was heavily influenced by skate and surf culture in his youth, we proposed the idea of developing a skatepark that incorporated Ryan’s artwork and visual direction.”
“Wayfinding,” according to McGinness, includes the disciplines of art, architecture and skating as well as performances and activities free and accessible to the public.
“The term ‘wayfinding’ refers to the discipline applied to guiding people through a physical environment,” explained McGinness. “These strategies for helping people navigate space are usually applied by architects and designers. When in the hands of a skateboarder and artist, the traditional guidelines for wayfinding get upended.”
The park is bound by Randolph, Bates, Cadillac Square and Monroe, and will remain open in its current location until construction begins on the site in early 2018.