Souvenirs of a James Jarvis art adorned skate park

These unusual looking objects are, in fact, souvenirs created from the rubble of Plymouth’s Central Park skate park – which was demolished soon after artist James Jarvis had been commissioned to paint all over it…

These unusual looking objects are, in fact, souvenirs created from the rubble of Plymouth’s Central Park skate park – which was demolished soon after artist James Jarvis had been commissioned to paint all over it…

This time last year, skateboarders and BMX riders in Plymouth heard the sad news that their beloved skate park in the city’s Central Park was soon to be demolished to make way for the new Central Park Life Centre. The vision for the Life Centre was, according to Plymouth City Council “to create an outstanding venue of regional significance for sport, recreation and leisure, and to strengthen Central Park’s position as the city’s premier park for all residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Through a series of site specific commissions, Plymouth City Council wanted to raise awareness and encourage engagement with the vision and aims of Life Centre. While the skate park was due to be relocated, the council’s Arts Unit, in collaboration with its Youth Service and also design studio Intercity devised Souvenir (identity shown above), a project conceived to both commemorate the soon to be old skate park whilst also recognising and valuing its importance to the skaters that used it.

So, the project began in November last year when James Jarvis came to paint the skate park. “Basically myself and two members of the council’s art unit, plus some very kind students, white washed the park and James arrived and immediately started painting,” explains Intercity’s Nathan Gale. “He managed to paint the bowl in half a day,” he continues, “but things came to a standstill when too many skaters started arriving wanting to skate.”

Unfortunately, after that first day of painting, it started raining and although Jarvis attempted to paint in the rain – it didn’t work (see above) so despite their best efforts, the team couldn’t paint the whole park as previously planned.

The skatepark was duly demolished, on a suitably miserable day early this year, after skaters had got used to the art-adorned bowl, with the surface sections of rubble carefully kept…

It is these pieces of surface rubble that have been used in the creation of the souvenirs shown in the topmost image on this post, mounted above glass half-pipe shapes. These souvenirs were created by Jack Lambourne – a student on the Applied Arts foundation degree at Plymouth College of Art who won a pitch to design the pieces for the project. Only a handful of these were made but smaller pieces of the rubble were used to create around 100 smaller souvenirs, designed by Christine Sinclair, a fellow student on the same course.

To further commemorate the project, Jarvis has also created 50 signed and numbered lino-cut prints which will be given away with some of the glass pieces to local skaters and users of the old park. Subject to planning approval, work is expected to start on building the first phase of the new skate park, valued at £190,000, in January 2011 and it is scheduled to open in Spring 2011.

Find out more about Plymouth’s Central Park improvements at


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