As part of the exhibition The Art of the Skateboard on view at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Ken Harman of Hashimotoo Contemporary has co-curated Inclusive - Highlighting Emerging Underground Skaters and Artists. 

Historically, skateboarding has been (and will always be) a means of both rebellion and inclusion. Highly individualistic, the sheer act of skating in and of itself serves as an act of insurgency against the regimented homogeny of organized sport. Quasi-anarchic in nature, skateboarding eschews uniforms, rules, and coaches, instead pushing forward in pursuit of an idyllic world where self expression, experimentation, and originality define success in the sport.

This fierce drive for independence from the status quo, coupled with its backyard DIY roots, helped drive skateboarding over these past few decades into the cultural phenomenon we know today. Independent homegrown brands like Vans catered to the highly specific needs of early skaters in the 1970s while in the 1980s media outlets like Thrasher Magazine provided a punk rock alternative to mainstream sports magazines. Artistically, Jim Phillips’ Screaming Hand wailed above the generic graphic din of professional sports team logos launching an artistic counter culture legacy which continues on to this day.

In popular culture, Marty McFly inspired a generation of skaters as he fled prototypical bullies and jocks on a homemade mid-century skateboard in 1985’s Back to the Future while ar- chetypal bad boy Bart Simpson skated his way into the homes of millions of American children on syndicated television throughout the 1990s. The 2000s brought skateboarding further into the mainstream with the growing popularity of skate-specific video games, television shows, touring sports events, music festivals and streetwear.

As we enter the second decade of the new millennium, skateboarding culture continues to evolve in lockstep alongside its popularity - as does its propensity for non-conformity.

Today, skateboarding no longer represents the singular suburbanity of its past. Rather, the cul- ture’s ingrained rebellious nature has diverted its ever vigilant gaze inward, breaking from its own historical legacy to encompass a diverse and eclectic cornucopia of scenes, crews, gen- ders, colors, people, identities, and movements.

Much as early skaters throughout the twentieth century created their own safe spaces in sub- urban backyards and empty swimming pools, hidden from organized sports and societal norms, so too today do we find a new generation of skaters carving out their own spaces and finding their own voices.

While these groups have always been present, albeit often marginalized and underrepresented, the cultural and technological zeitgeist of today has finally provided a platform for these groups to connect, to grow, and to provide and create safe spaces of their own.

Featured artists include: Norma Ibarra, Sam McGuire, Jeffrey Cheung, Marbie Miller, Briana King, There Skateboards, Glue Skateboards, BottomFeeder, Pave the Way, Skateism Maga- zine, and more.