The Skatin’ Place in Golden Gate Park is known for being a good time.
It’s not uncommon to pass by it on a weekend afternoon to find dozens of skaters cruising, grooving and moving to disco music or dancing in tandem to songs like the Cupid Shuffle.
Now, the spot is even more colorful, with a new mural by Bay Area artist Aimee Bruckner painted across the center of it. The mural, called “Psychedelic Golden Gate Skate,” debuted on Saturday, June 18.
The art project is the brainchild of David Miles Jr., also known as San Francisco’s “Godfather of Skate.” He pitched the idea to the Recreation and Park Department in 2021, who helped get the concept off the ground after approving designs in December. The project also got approval from the San Francisco Arts Commission.
The 93-foot colorful mural, which features a yellow roller skate in the middle of it, was painted with asphalt acrylic paint, a durable material that resists fading or scuffing from heavy use. The design, which is quite simple and geometric in nature, is meant to support spatial orientation for skaters so that they can maintain their balance while gliding over it.
“What we landed on was a beautiful representation of the colors that the people, the skaters, bring to the area,” said artist Aimee Bruckner.
State Senator Scott Wiener, who attended the mural unveiling on Saturday, said the event brought him back to memories of skating every weekend as a teenager.
“It was just fun, it was awesome, and it was very New Jersey,” he reflected. Wiener also commented on the unique community gathering spot that is the Skatin’ Place here in San Francisco.
“You walk up JFK Drive and you just see this magical space where people are skating and just having fun and now, with the art, it’s even better.”
For David Miles Jr., this ground mural is just a small piece of decades of effort spent getting roller skating accepted in the city. In the beginning, the sport was considered the pastime of social outsiders and the rebellious youth—a far cry from the family-friendly activity it has since evolved into.
“We were not in their good graces,” Miles said in a previous interview with The Standard, reflecting on city officials’ reactions to the early days of skating in the park. “You can say ‘prejudice’ and all, but that wasn’t it. It was more of a class thing.”
Today, with politicians like Mayor London Breed and Wiener in attendance at the mural’s unveiling and financial support from Rec and Park, it’s clear roller skating has come a long way.
“What you’re looking at is an official recognition of roller skating as a part of life here in San Francisco,” said Miles.
“We call it spreading rolligion.”
Additional reporting by Chris Chang and Morgan Ellis.
Sophie Bearman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org