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Putting 'U' in Community Education: Skateboard Artists

Community Education provides lifelong learning for all. That’s why we’re sharing stories of the different ways people interact with Community Ed. We want YOU to see how Community Education is having an impact on your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

Mark Rivard with students(2/8/23) Professional artist Mark Rivard is inspiring students one skateboard at a time. Rivard has taken his talents to the classroom — teaching art sessions for Anoka-Hennepin Community Education and speaking at schools across the state.

After graduating from Champlin Park High School in 2000, Rivard focused on extreme action sports like skateboarding, snowboarding and skiing. He moved to Colorado until a skiing accident ended his career. Although he enjoyed art classes in school, he never really thought of it as a profession until he decided to try something new.

“I had a lot of old skateboards lying around so I just started sketching on them,” Rivard said. “I put some boards in galleries and coffee shops and eventually started my own skateboard company.”

He drew all his skateboards with Sharpie markers and ended up being endorsed by the company for many years.

“I built a good relationship with the brand,” said Rivard. “That led to a lot of public speaking and interest from schools and that’s where I learned that I was passionate about working with kids. I liked not only telling my story, but seeing their stories come to life through art.”

In our latest Putting ‘U’ in Community Education video, you’ll meet Rivard and tag along as he teaches an after-school class at Oxbow Creek Elementary.