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    Photography by
  • Cameron Markin

Since Feb this year, arts/social change company Big hART has had a residency at The Cutaway, Barangaroo in Sydney’s CBD.

You may have seen a bit of a buzz over the past 6 months about an underground skate warehouse with polished concrete and strange white skate features that hosted VANS Go Skateboarding Day – but we thought we’d share a bit of background of what this project is about.

Big hART is a small but ambitious arts not-for-profit that primarily works in regional and remote communities. They take Australia’s best artists to do hardcore community development work in places that rarely get decent funding – working for generational change and ensuring that people in the community can access state of the art creative projects. Their work has taken them from the red desert sand of The Pilbara to the halls of Buckingham palace – not bad for a company based in North-West Tassie.


The project at Barangaroo is called SKATE. The title sounds simple and self-explanatory, but is actually obscuring quite a challenging concept… Can a group of skaters from Sydney and Melbourne create a live skate exhibition that has integrity in the skate world, stands on it’s own two feet in the wanky art world and is appealing enough that the general public will buy tickets to see it (keeping skaters in a job)? Can skaters collaborate with light and sound designers, interacting with motion track projection tech and hidden mics, to create a rhythmic soundscape and a visual spectacle? And most importantly, can Barangaroo security tolerate having so many skate rats around their precinct? Whether you like it or not – you’ve gotta admit that’s a tall order for most skaters. You may ask yourself why would anyone do this? The skater’s get paid a daily wage to skate in a private skate warehouse in the middle of Sydney CBD – so that’s a pretty awesome opportunity, but why is Big hART doing this?

The answer is the real interest of this project. Sick of art/culture being determined and dominated by old rich white people who tutt tutt at skaters and love Opera, and sick of polished concrete palaces like The Cutaway being reserved for luxury car photo shoots, Big hART wanted to use this residency to showcase skating in a different light in a project that has been in development for over 10 years. Skating appearing in the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and the rise of the X-Games has presented skaters as athletes, but what about skaters as artists? Creators? Re-imaginers of urban landscapes? Agents of social change?


Every dollar of profit created by SKATE will be reinvested into disadvantaged communities.

Tired of piecing together small grants and sick of convincing short-sighted governments that all people should be able to access and contribute to culture, Big hART is seeking to create sustainable funding for projects into the future. The residency at Barangaroo has been an opportunity to prove that the concept has legs and to seek investment to take it around the world. So watch this space – following Sydney SKATE will tour nationally and hopefully land a spot in the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony!

 Big shout out to those who have supported SKATE throughout the residency with advice, questions, concerns and passion for all things skating:

Totem Skateboarding, iSkate Australia, VANS, Convic, Basement Skate, 335 Skate Supply, UPS Skate Shop, ABD Skate Supply, Lodown, Cameron Markin, Dickies, New Balance, SKUWS, Throat Pasta, David Stefanoff.

And Skaters:

Aimee Massie, Noah Fuzi, Ryder Lawson, Nixen Osborne, Gracie Earl, Sari Simpson, Aiden Ouma, Liam Merrigan-Turner, Beth Allan, Callum Donohue, Jacob De Leo.

The final showings of SKATE on the 18th, 19th & 20th of July are sold out but there will be tickets available at the door –

check out the website for more INFO: