Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk and Grammy award-winning musician Ben Harper opened the third annual Boards + Bands auction in West Hollywood on 12 August.
Launched in 2012, the fundraiser pairs top skateboarders with musical talent to create unique collaborative art for a two-week auction, with proceeds benefiting the Tony Hawk Foundation supporting funding for skateparks around the US.
"Well I think skateparks are really healthy addition to communities especially ones where kids are feeling disenfranchised and they're at risk of other bad influences and a lot of kids choose to skate, whether we ignore that fact or not it's skating is as popular as Little League these days and so many kids are into it but there are so very few facilities especially in the more needy areas," Tony Hawk, founder of the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Professional skateboarders donate used skateboards and submit names of their favourite musicians and songs. The Tony Hawk Foundation pairs the skateboards with musicians for autographs and lyrics and the boards are then auctioned off for charity. Hawk himself has had several of his boards signed by world-renown musicians including all the band members of U2.
"Well three of my boards have been collaborated with Paul McCartney, The Clash and U2, that's about as big as I have ever hoped you know, in terms of the other bands who have participated, honestly those are the main ones for me. I am so thankful that we've had that much support," Hawk said when asked about how much bigger he thinks the collaborations could get in the future.
100% of the proceeds from the skateboards auction benefits the construction of skateparks and the initiative has raised $139,000 (£88,000) so far.
"The most powerful impact is when you go to a park that you were a small part of getting built, or a large part of helping get built and you see how it enlivens communities and youth and just being there after they're built and seeing, and all of the sudden the communities absorb them immediately, they become something of a centre piece to the towns and to the outlying communities and then they feel like they've always been there," Tony Hawk Foundation Board member and Grammy Award winning musician, Ben Harper said.
The foundation has supported the construction of over 500 parks in all fifty states in the United States and is also involved internationally to assist youth in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa.