The Orchard Conservatory, Allston’s unusual free, indoor skate park, is opening its doors next weekend to young designers - inviting them to learn how to make do-it-yourself skate obstacles for the space.
Participants will be shown how to make concrete skating structures from scratch, organizers said. Once complete, the obstacles will be added to the array of ramps, rails and skate-able undulations at the park, which occupies two floors of the city-supported temporary space at POP Allston on Brighton Avenue.
Young skaters have lots to gain by taking part, said Tom Dupere, one of the skate park designers leading the workshop.
“Everything from learning some basic construction skills that can be applied to their own DIY skate spots, to the feeling of some good, old-fashioned hard work,” he told Metro in an email. “Everyone will have the chance to take pride in the reward of riding their skateboards on something they personally built and worked hard for.”
Converse, the shoe company newly headquartered in the city and hoping to make an impression on young Bostonians with a slew of guerilla marketing efforts, is sponsoring it. Converse has also helped fund the park, which opened in late 2015.
The “Chuck Taylor” sneaker-maker has led workshops around the country – which it calls the Cons Project - on “creative recycling” and how to make skate videos, structures, skateboard decks and indie magazines.
"The inspiration behind the Cons Project workshops is to provide the next generation of skaters, designers, builders,and photographers an environment that fosters self-expression and the opportunity to unleash their creative spirit," Converse's North American spokeswoman Kristin Cusic said in an email.
Armin Bachmin, Orchard skate shop’s co-owner, told Metro the Converse collaborations help in a bigger effort to boost the skate community’s profile and make Boston more welcoming to skaters.
“Compared to many other major US cities, Boston is still far behind the pack when it comes to public skate spaces,” he said in an email, adding, "Boston's skate culture has it's own unique identity and has formed organically over the last 30 years, so it will take more than one regional skate park to change the cultural identity of the scene."
Bachmin knows a good amount about DIY ramps. Last summer, the Orchard crew finished an elevated skating structure in their Allston skate shop called the “Birdsnest Bowl,” held up by tree trunks and fitted with overlaid, twisted sticks of wood. It’s free to use inside the shop.
He also praised the 2015 openings of the huge Lynch Family Skatepark in Cambridge and the smaller Lil Scobie Skatepark in Roxbury as “an awesome start,” but said Boston needs more public, city-sanctioned spaces.
For his part, Bachmin said the Orchard-sponsored park and its skating lessons program have been “a 100% success,” attracting new skaters as young as 5 and veterans over 40 and stoking interest in new skate spots. He said Orchard is also working with the city on a new skate park feasibility study.
At the Conservatory, once the daylong DIY project next weekend is done, the concrete creations won’t be there long – the park will stay open only as long as its owner, developer Eden Properties, lets POP Allston use the space.
Some of its obstacles will live on. When the Conservatory closes, Bachmin plans to move some of the skating equipment to to-be-determined spots around Boston. And he said other real estate developers have already reached out to Orchard who are “looking to support future skate endeavors.”
For now, though, he’s excited to pass on skating’s DIY spirit.
“As seen through our programs, and other programs like Cons Project, it’s in our nature as skateboarders to be resourceful,” he said.
To take part in the free “DIY Skate Spot” program Saturday, Feb. 13, from 11 a.m to 5 p.m., sign up online.