Mandan News

Park Board recognizes young artists

The newly painted section of the skate park is seen depicting underwater life. The art project is not fully complete, but is expected to continue. (Dustin White photo)

The newly painted section of the skate park is seen depicting underwater life. The art project is not fully complete, but is expected to continue. (Dustin White photo)

By LeAnn Eckroth
Lee News

The Mandan Park Board on Monday recognized two teens for art work they did at the Mandan Skate Park and for wiping out unwanted graffiti there.

Tyler Reitz and Colton Justice were honored for spray-painting positive pictures over graffiti at the site behind the Brave Center, said Cole Higlin, parks and recreation director. He said the park district partnered with the Mandan High School Art Department in doing the work. The park district paid for the paint supplies.

“Park maintenance staff was spending time painting over inappropriate graffiti. This way the users have some self-interest in the skate park and hopefully help police other users from painting graffiti,” Higlin said. “So far it seems to be working.”

Weather has limited progress on the project, Higlin said, but he plans to have art students help complete it. So far, he said, they have only been able to complete one-third of it.

Reitz, 17, is both an avid artist and skateboarding enthusiast. He has been a skateboarder for 10 years. An art student of five years, his contribution to the skate park has been painting aquatic features. They will replace “some stupid words there,” he explained, referring to slurs against certain groups of people.

Reitz said he looked for aquatic ideas online, drew his own version of aquatic features on paper and used the paper version to guide him as he spray-painted on the park.

“I wanted the kids to have positive feelings about their skate park, to feel proud about it,” Reitz said. “So many kids go to Bismarck to skate.”

His favored artwork medium is acrylic on canvas, but for this project he was willing to switch to spray cans for the project. It took 20 cans to finish his section so far. He said he is hearing good things about the work.

“The older kids are proud of the park,” he said.

Park Board President Jason Arenz visited the skate park this past weekend.

“They did a real nice job. It was an ocean theme. A small part of the art work is done, but they did a good job of getting rid of all the obscenities,” he said. “It was a nice job. I hope the art department is able to take the next step.”