An estimated crowd of about 450 gathered and browsed the works of local artists at the first-ever After Hours at Emerald City Art Show. The May 5 event was held at the Orange Avenue surf shop, owned by Larry and Kelly Kraus. It was their way of giving back to the community.
“We’ve been in business since 1988, and we’ve never done anything like this before,” General Manager Marco Perez said. “Many people don’t realize the caliber of talent. There’s some serious heavy-hitter artists that go to school here.”
Perez explained that art goes hand-in-hand with the free-minded spirit of the surf world. “The surf and skate culture has always been associated with music, but many (surfers and skaters) also paint and do art.”
In keeping with that free spirit, Emerald City donated 100 skateboard decks and a dozen mannequins for the event. Coronado High School students and alumni transformed those decks and mannequins into mosaics and other artwork. There were no rules or limits. The kids were allowed to express themselves however they wanted.
The art show also featured canvas paintings and a live street demonstration a la Banksy on a wall in the shop’s parking lot. Mayor Casey Tanaka signed Tanaka-faced T-shirts designed by Laura Hill, and artists from Toms Shoes decorated footwear purchased at the fundraiser.
“I thought it went better than expected, and it was a great turnout,” employee Wade Zola said.
Zola estimates that about $4,000 worth of high school art was sold at the event. These funds will be divided among the artists, the high school and Emerald City, which plans to put any money it gets toward hosting future events.
For Perez, the fundraiser reminded him of his own days as a student in Coronado. “I used to shop here in second grade, and now I run the store,” he said. “It’s really cool to bring it back.”