Local newspaper in Clearwater, Minnesota covers Rivard’s long running library skateboard art tours

Local newspaper in Clearwater, Minnesota covers Rivard’s long running library skateboard art tours

How do you get teens and preteens interested in art? Help them create their own unique piece of pop culture! This is what artist Mark Rivard does with his Skateboard Art program, which he brought to the Clearwater Public Library last Saturday.

The program, which is aimed at teens and preteens, allows them to unleash their creativity on an actual skateboard, using it as a canvas on which to create their art.

Rivard’s art journey began in 2004 after he blew out his knees. He had been skiing competitively but now that he was laid up recovering he wasn’t sure what to do with himself. Always interested in art, he started using Sharpie markers to draw on a skateboard and enjoyed it. A new passion was born.

Although started just for fun, his hobby began to grow when he started his own company selling his skateboard art. His work was eventually noticed by Sharpie, a brand known worldwide for its permanent markers, and they invited him to become a Sharpie brand ambassador. He accepted and worked with them for 10 years; he was featured in ad campaigns and was the ‘face of Sharpie’ in 2011. 

This led to public speaking, mainly at high schools, and then to Rivard starting Rivard Art Education and developing art programs. Later he began another venture when he bought a company that made skateboards. Currently he is working on developing online art curriculum for schools. 

During the skateboard art programs, kids start by sketching out their ideas on paper. Once they’ve settled on a design they transfer it to a skateboard. The skateboards are actually fully functional boards, if someone wants to outfit theirs with wheels and use it instead of hanging it on a wall the holes are already drilled.

Best friends Clare Gohmann and Sophie Benjamin, both 12 year-olds from Clearwater, said they decided to sign up for the skateboard art program because it sounded fun and they love art. Both have skateboarded.

“We come to a lot of library classes,” said 13 year-old Brooke Seidl. “I haven’t skateboarded before but I like to draw.”

Tammy Tetrick talked her family into signing up for the program. While she herself didn’t participate, her husband Justin and sons Tristan, 18, and Levi, 15, did. They liked learning new and different drawing techniques from Rivard.

Along with speaking and holding art programs around the world, Rivard has brought his Do Rad Things – A Skateboard Art Education program to around 60 Minnesota libraries to date, many of them, like the Clearwater Library, part of the Great River Library System. 

Originally living in Colorado, he currently resides in the Twin Cities. 

The Skateboard Art program was funded by Great River Regional Library’s Legacy Program, Arts & Cultural Heritage Funds from Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.

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