Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media. September 4 - 13, 2015.

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Where Ideas Converge.

Jason Moran: Photo by Clay Patrick McBride

As the nation's performing arts center, the Kennedy Center is a natural fit to showcase the intersection of the great American skateboarding subculture with music and art. From stage plays to orchestral works, the merging of histories is a natural phenomenon in the arts. And in Finding a Line, we will be embarking on a new exploration of our grounds here at the Kennedy Center. It will be vibrant and thrilling.

Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media is an outgrowth of my youth. As a youngster in the '80s, my brothers and I would skateboard all over Houston with our neighborhood friends. When we weren't skating, we were watching skateboard videos. These groundbreaking videos displayed skaters creating new collections of tricks. And many times, the soundtrack for these videos was jazz. Video Days features iconic street skater Mark Gonzales skating to the music of John Coltrane; two innovators speaking the same language through different mediums.

Great improvisers are known for the ability to adapt quickly. We are a peculiar phylum, able to morph into shapes and colors to fit our surroundings. Finding the line is our gift, and weaving it into the music is our passion.

Jason Moran, Festival Curator and Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz

Life Is Improvisation.

Ben Ashworth: photo by John Falls

We are all moving through physical space together and making up our lives as we go. Skateboarding visually represents this idea—because it allows us to witness an individual flowing through cities, streets, and pools and reacting to them in an improvisational manner. It is this creative process of finding a line that lies at the heart of what I do.

Beyond the path of the individual, as he or she finds a line, I am interested in the way different artists influence and affect each other as they seek their own path. If we create a space where a community of many different disciplines can converge, we can all bring new ideas into form together. This becomes even more interesting when the general community surrounding the space is invited to participate. This collective of artists and community working, interacting, and improvising together creates a powerful creative environment where we all evolve.

In that spirit, I'm so very excited to be developing the Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media festival in conversation with Jason Moran, George Mason University, Cuba Skate, and the D.C. community. It is my hope that the improvisation that lies at the heart of both skateboarding and music will create new and different ideas for both communities, as well as the D.C. community itself.

Ben Ashworth, Festival Curator

Events/Exhibits

Finding a Line: Exhibition: Art on Deck

Finding a Line: Exhibition: Art on Deck

A unique art exhibition commissioned by Cuba Skate, Art on Deck features custom, hand-painted and graphically designed skate decks by artists from DC, Cuba, Miami, New York, California, and other parts of Latin America.

  • Sep 4 - Sep 25
  • Hall of Nations
Finding a Line: Exhibition by Neftalie Williams: The Nation Skate: What you can do for your country

Finding a Line: Exhibition by Neftalie Williams: The Nation Skate: What you can do for your country

In this collection of images of the present and future of global skateboarding diplomacy, photographer Neftalie Williams reflects their passion and diversity.

  • Sep 4 - Sep 15
  • Hall of Nations
Finding a Line: Exhibition: From the Forest to the Streets

Finding a Line: Exhibition: From the Forest to the Streets

The Johnny Schillereff-curated collection of skate decks and memorabilia tells the story of the inspiration and history of Element Skateboards.

  • Sep 4 - Sep 26
  • Hall of Nations
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Palace 5ive

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Palace 5ive

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Kennedy Center's Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by Palace 5ive with music by Loud Boyz.

  • Sep 4
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Pitcrew

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Pitcrew

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Kennedy Center's Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by Pitcrew with music by McRad.

  • Sep 5
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session: Buhi World Skate Shop

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session: Buhi World Skate Shop

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Kennedy Center's Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by Buhi World Skate Shop with music by The Shirks and Old Indian.

  • Sep 6
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Film: We Are Blood

Finding a Line: Film: We Are Blood

Exclusive D.C. Premiere! This modern day skateboarding epic features Paul Rodriguez and others as they travel the globe pushing the limits of what's possible on a board while celebrating the unconditional bond created by the simple act of skateboarding.

  • Sep 6
  • Family Theater
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by sPACYcLOUd and Skate Girls Tribe

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by sPACYcLOUd and Skate Girls Tribe

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by sPACYcLOUd and Skate Girls Tribe with music by AndyCAPPS & Ron Allen and See-I.

  • Sep 7
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Art Under Pressure

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Art Under Pressure

Skaters are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by Art Under Pressure with music by Darren Harper's The Dynasty Band, Javier Starks, & DJ Ayes Cold.

  • Sep 8
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Grand National Skateboards

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Grand National Skateboards

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Kennedy Center's Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by Grand National Skateboards with music by The Chariots.

  • Sep 9
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Cuba Skate

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by Cuba Skate

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Kennedy Center's Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by Cuba Skate with music by The Pedrito Martinez Group and DJ Leydis.

  • Sep 10
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Panel Discussion: The Video Days

Finding a Line: Panel Discussion: The Video Days

Join Jason Moran, Ben Ashworth, Jimmy Pelletier, Natalie Krishna Das, Ron Allen, and Dave Metty for a screening and discussion of iconic skate videos that inspire their life and work.

  • Sep 11
  • Grand Foyer
Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media with Jason Moran and The Bandwagon

Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media with Jason Moran and The Bandwagon

Jason Moran and The Bandwagon perform as skateboarders react to, improvise to, and complement the music on the skate ramp constructed specifically for the festival. Standing-room tix now available at (202) 467-4600. Part of Jason+.

  • Sep 11 - Sep 12
  • Front Plaza
The Kennedy Center

CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER: Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by ECRW / Dads Skateboards / Concrete Bombers

CANCELLED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Kennedy Center's Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session.

  • Sep 12
  • Front Plaza
Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by The DC Wheels / Dust Farm

Finding a Line: Open Skate Session, hosted by The DC Wheels / Dust Farm

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Front Plaza in this free Open Skate Session hosted by The DC Wheels / Dust Farm with music by Prince Rama and Chain & The Gang.

  • Sep 13
  • Front Plaza

Skate and Share

Free Open Skate Sessions

Skaters of all abilities are invited to find their line in the specially commissioned skate park on the Kennedy Center's Front Plaza. Free, no tickets required. See above for each day’s Open Skate Session schedule.

Skate Park MapMap of the Skate Park and Bleachers.

Skate Park Use Rules: Skaters are advised to skate at their own risk.

  • Waivers: All skateboarders MUST sign a participation waiver and have a wristband. NO ONE WILL BE PERMITTED INSIDE THE SKATE AREA WITHOUT A WRISTBAND. A driver's license or other proof of age must be presented in order to sign a waiver on site. Skaters MUST be at least 18 years old in order to sign a waiver. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian prior to entering the skate park. Skaters age 12 and under must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian.
  • Devices and equipment: This skate park is for skateboarders only. No roller skates, in-line skates, bicycles, BMX, motorized vehicles, scooters, or other equipment/devices may be used in the park. All skateboarders must provide their own skating equipment.
  • Protective equipment: Protective helmets are required for all skaters under 16 and strongly recommended for others. Other protective equipment, including elbow and knee pads and protective wrist guards, are recommended, but not required. Closed-toe, high-top non-slick shoes, gloves, wrist braces, and hip pads are also encouraged, but not required.

Full Skate Park Use Rules

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Media

Video Gallery

Photo Gallery

Ben-Ashworth-photo-by-Jati-Lindsay Chuck-Treece-photo-by-Jati-Lindsay---square Jean-Rusen-by-Jati-Lindsay McRad-Steve-Olson-Steve-Alba-photo-by-Rich-Filipowitz Natalie-Krishna-Das-photo-by-Jati-Lindsay See-I-and-Chuck-Treece-photo-by-Jati-Lindsay Steve-Olson-photo-by-Jati-Lindsay Unidentified-Skater-photo-by-Rich-Filipowitz Unidentified-Skater2-photo-by-Rich-Filipowitz Unidentified-Skater3-photo-by-Rich-Filipowitz Unidentified-Skater4-photo-by-Rich-Filipowitz Ben Ashworth tries out the custom made skate bowl Skaters try out our ramp