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Local youth highlight the art of skateboarding in ‘Backside/Frontside’

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Boards of education: Skateboarding culture is the focus of Backside/Frontside at Winchester Cultural Center.
Mikayla Whitmore

In Backside/Frontside: An Exploration of Style and Form, opening this week at Winchester Cultural Center, Hektor Esparza’s 12-member skate team created six life-size sculptures of skaters in classic positions riding the ramps and sidewalks of urban environments. Using wire for bodies and painted cardboard for props, the installation focuses on the high-flying art of skateboarding, something the teens—exceptional skaters themselves—are well acquainted with.

Esparza, a writer and skater, began the mentoring program in 2006 and formed an annual team two years later. Members audition in and are required to maintain academic standards, meet weekly with experts in health, finance and higher education and be involved in the arts (visual or music). In addition to studying skateboarding history and its contribution to film, photography, fashion and design, the group brings in visiting artists, which this year included Brian Zimmerman, a professor in UNLV’s sculpture department, and sculptor Miguel Rodriguez, a perfect match for the teens creating the Backside/Frontside installation, sponsored by Esparza’s Push Forward organization.

Backside/Frontside: An Exploration of Style and Form Through August 2; Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. Opening reception July 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Winchester Cultural Center Gallery, 455-7340.

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