Art for Skate fundraiser on September 18 to benefit the Frankie Fortuna Memorial Skatepark project
LEOMINSTER – Art for Skate, a fundraiser featuring a variety of raffle items from local artists to benefit the Frankie Fortuna Memorial Skatepark Project, is slated for September 18 at Adventure Game Company Live The Gate Escape at 375 Harvard St.
Organizer and photographer Danielle Zaleski said the inspiration for the fundraiser, which will be part of The Otherworld Art Showcase that will take place that day at The Gate Escape, came to her during the pandemic.
“I think the quarantine isolation has led a lot of people to revisit their art,” she said. “It seemed imperative to give people the space to show it. I wanted to do something positive with it, and skateparks are something that fascinates me.
Fortuna was only 19 when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver and died on November 18, 2015. A devoted skateboarder, Fortuna was often found at the Johnson Street skatepark. After his death, his family decided to raise funds to restore the skatepark in his memory.
Frankie Fortuna Skatepark Committee co-chair Steven Snay said they raised $ 439,000 of the $ 500,000 fundraising goal, “a number thought to be unobtainable for this project.” The funds were raised through crowdsourcing, in-kind donations, city council credits, and a state grant for park acquisitions and renovations for communities.
“With $ 61,000 remaining, we’re about 88% toward our goal,” he said. “We are almost there.”
Snay said there had been delays in the skatepark project due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that they also wanted to make sure they had a design “that will appeal to users.” He said they are now in the construction documents phase and are planning to build in the spring of 2022 with the skatepark opening next summer.
When asked what he and the other committee members thought about seeing the skatepark finally become a reality after years of fundraising and planning, Snay replied “ecstatic”.
“The outlet this will provide for youth and adults, the ability to hone and push their driving level, to commemorate Frankie and respect the park and what that means for our city” is what they fought for, did he declare. . “We’re very excited to see it happen and can’t wait to drive it. “
He said the final skatepark design was in place, adding that they appreciated Zaleski’s efforts with the Art for Skate fundraiser.
“This benefit is a testament to those who want to see this park succeed and commemorate Frankie,” said Snay. “People who use their talents to create beautiful and meaningful works of art for the benefit of this project as well as the ability to achieve it are greatly appreciated. “
The Art for Skate event was originally scheduled for August 21, but Tropical Storm Henri put a damper on that. Due to the unpredictable weather it was postponed and one of the artists attending the event, Angela Jaynes, was hosting her own art exhibition, The Otherworld Art Showcase. She suggested that they combine the events.
There will be food, drinks provided by River Styx Brewing and over 20 artists of all kinds at the 21+ event. A portion of the proceeds from Otherworld will be donated to Michael’s Run, the Michael Jay Amico Wallace Foundation for Mental Wellness. Art for Skate raffle items will include photo prints, tattoo voucher, creative portrait photoshoot, hand-printed shirts, $ 50 Gibbet Hill Grill gift certificate in Groton and an Xbox Series S .
Zaleski said that although she did not know Fortuna personally, “the people who did are very passionate about creating something positive in her legacy.” She said organizing the fundraiser was important to her, the way she contributed to a skatepark that will benefit the community as a whole.
“The skatepark is a safe place, it’s a place where everyone is welcome,” Zaleski said. “Any skatepark is more than just a park, it’s a community. For some, it’s the only community they have, and it’s important to have that.
Art for Skate will be held from 6 p.m. to midnight. Raffle tickets will be available for $ 15 for one, $ 25 for two and $ 30 for three. To purchase tickets for the event, visit https://otherworldartshowcase.com.
Donations for the Frankie Fortuna Memorial Skatepark can be made through the ‘Recreation’ tab on the City of Leominster webpage, www.leominster-ma.gov, or via the Fortuna family’s GoFundMe page, https://gofund.me/25fbe717. Tax deductible donations can be made to Leominster Recreation Department and mailed to Leominster Recreation Department, Skatepark and Pump Track Fund, 25 West St., Leominster, MA, 01453.