Successes and Challenges of Isolation: Drug Aware Skateboard Deck Painting Workshop

Successes and Challenges of Isolation: Drug Aware Skateboard Deck Painting Workshop

Regional Arts WA

This story was submitted by a member of the regional arts sector: The Shire of Murray. We love sharing stories from the sector. If you want to find out how to submit your own stories, take a look at the submit your story page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Aged 11 – 25 and interested in being part of the Skateboard Deck Painting Workshop for yourself? Check out more info at the Facebook event page.


COVID-19 has created huge challenges for events across the state, and even though restrictions are starting to lift it has still been an intense effort by many to adapt their creative community gatherings to something which can run safely and smoothly.

Luckily, this is also a great opportunity to learn from each other to create more inclusive, accessible events – so Shire of Murray Place and Community Officer Trick Cole and Project Coordinator Hanna Spencer ran us through their challenges and successes in adapting their upcoming Drug Aware Skateboard Deck Painting Workshop.

A collection of draft artworks that participants have prepared for the upcoming workshop. Pictures courtesy of Shire of Murray.

“Our project traditionally takes place at an event with participants interested not only in art but also involved in skate culture,” Trick and Hanna write.

This has presented a number of challenges for the event.

“With an event held at the skate park, it has been simpler to bring the activity to the participants. With COVID-19 restrictions in effect, and none of our immediate youth council with a particular ‘in’ to the skating community, it has proven difficult to promote the message to client bases beyond young people already engaged with Murray Youth for Youth and Shire of Murray youth activities.

“By holding events in person we are also able to engage a larger audience and better affect the atmosphere of the workshop, whereas while moving workshops online has its advantages – it can prove harder to gauge the audience’s interest and be inspired by the creativity of others.”

But, sometimes having to work within limitations can offer an opportunity for creative new solutions.

“Without the COVID-19 restrictions it is highly unlikely we would have considered online programs/events any time soon, and moving everything online has expanded our group’s skillset with regard to filming and advertising in the online world.”

“Many of our activities are now in person and online where appropriate – and this in turn has encouraged other members of our youth council to run programs/projects of their own in a digital medium.”

There’s always room for improvement though, and Trick notes that getting the decks and painting equipment out to all participants required a significant amount of legwork. Were they to try and run an online workshop again they would choose a different art medium which didn’t rely so heavily on individual painting and distributing supplies to participants.

But – thanks to the effort of a dedicated team at the Shire of Murray, and the support of the Drug Aware YCulture program – the workshop will be going ahead between 5 – 6pm on Wednesday 24 June. More info can be found over here on the Facebook.

“Young people can look forward to a relaxed, casual workshop with Hanna and other members of the Murray Youth for Youth group as together we start painting our skateboard decks for display around the Shire of Murray,” Trick says.

“The Drug Aware message is one of many messages that is not only positive for young people but also for the wider community. Living a drug aware lifestyle is important for young people for their physical and mental health as well as working to remove a ‘stigma’ that is too often attached with young people by the wider community.”

If you’re looking to run your own youth arts workshop Drug Aware YCulture Regional is now open to regional people aged 12-26 for skills development across any artform. Contact Hannah (9200 6210 or hchambers@regionalartswa.org.au) for more information.

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