How It All Began: Discover the Voices Behind the Making of Evertro

Posted on 9 October 2015 by Liverpool Biennial

Evertro, the first glow-in-the-dark wheels park in the UK, launched in October 2015 but has been years in the making. Discover the stories behind this new public artwork from the people and organisations that were directly involved – from skaters to local residents. We invited Liverpool-based artist and skater Gregory Herbert to meet some of these people and document their stories for a unique publication. Read the narrative behind the project and the full interviews in the fanzine below.

"Me and a bunch of mates were sat in Garston park when a youth worker approached us and asked us how they could improve the area. As skateboarders, we said there wasn't many areas where we could skate, which led to the idea of creating a skatepark.Phil Cahill, Skateboarder

This opportune meeting was the spark which started the sequence of events that brought Evertro from idea to reality. Phil Cahill, Josh Dawe and a number of other skaters from across the city began planning and fundraising to build one new wheels park in Garston. So convincing were the skaters that as a result of their proposals, Mayor Joe Anderson and Liverpool City Council agreed to fund five new wheels parks across the city. 

"It was fantastic to see young people leading the way in the decision-making process and to see the City Council engage with them as equals." Brendan Burton, Former Youth Worker

The skaters and Liverpool City Council began working closely with skaters to research different ideas for each wheels park and designs started to be drawn up. It was off the back of these plans in 2013, when Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial, saw a unique opportunity. Already familiar with Koo Jeong A's work, and in particular her previous glow-in-the-dark skatepark in France, OTRO, Sally approached the artist about collaborating on a similar project in Everton Park. Koo accepted the offer and quickly began developing concepts with the skaters and young people from the local area.

"I think working with Koo was really good; with the youth coming in, making stuff out of modelling clay and designing their own things. It worked really well." John Dumbbell, Assistant Team Leader, The Shewsy

The council and skaters invited a number of skatepark construction experts to present their vision of how the park would be built in response to Koo's concept. The proposal put forward by Wheelscape Skateparks, specialists in building innovative and original wheels parks, was met with universal approval and they were brought on board. Agreements were made, plans were shared and developed with the community, and from February 2014, Koo Jeong A and the designers from Wheelscape began working with young people in Everton to devise the wheels park. They worked together to combine familiar skating forms and features with new sculptural elements, whilst incorporating specific trends from the Liverpool skating scene, resulting in a truly unique space. The Shewsy Youth Club was always going to be a crucial part of this with its close proximity to the proposed site and the connections they have with the local youth. 

"A fantastic piece of art that is amazing; fantastic to look at and totally functional." John Colfar, Friends of Everton Park

Whilst Liverpool City Council and the skaters were considering their plans for five new wheels parks to be built across the city, it was Friends of Everton Park that were actively promoting the idea for one to built in Everton. The group's recommendation was accepted by the existing partners and they were integral in raising the profile of the project in the local area. Friends of Everton Park were set up in 2010 and have been working ever since to make the park a visitor attraction of excellence. 

"When people walk through the park and see that they are going to be so surprised!" Youths from The Shewsy

Everyone came out to the celebrate the launch of Evertro in October, where the Evertro fanzine was distributed. The wheels park is now officially open for all to enjoy, bringing art into the city and into the everyday lives of people. We have uploaded the fanzine online, so take time to read in full the stories that helped make Evertro happen. 

Read the fanzine

Koo Jeong A, Evertro, 2015 is commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, in partnership with Friends of Everton Park, the Land Trust and Liverpool Vision, with support from St. Modwen. Evertro is part of the Everton Park Action Sports HUB.