The DIY skate movement takes many forms. With skatepark design and construction remaining a white CIS male-dominated field, co-founder of OnWord Skate Collective Lid Madrid combined their background in architecture and love of skateboarding and created Chicago’s first DIY mobile pop-up skatepark. Designed and built entirely by non-tradional skaters there is now an effort underway to document the movement. Check out the Indiegogo campaign and help fund the documentary, or if you’re in Chicago join them for a benefit for the film on May 21.
Crew name: OnWord Skate Collective
City or region? Chicago, IL
What do you do? OnWord is a Chicago-based skate collective for non-traditional skaters, by non-traditional skaters. We built Chicago’s first DIY public mobile pop-up skatepark entirely designed, fabricated, and built by non-traditional skaters. We provide free skate lessons, host meetups all over Chicago (with snacks and water provided!), tour our DIY mobile skatepark, host giveaways, and this past winter we’ve hosted climb nights at a couple indoor climbing gyms to stay active and continue to hang out while it was cold.
How did you start?
OnSite was Chicago’s first DIY public mobile pop-up skatepark designed, fabricated, and built by BIPOC, queer, women, and/or non-binary skaters. It was a two-day event in May 2021, in which we built the skatepark on Saturday, then skated and hosted a giveaway on Sunday.
In January 2021, co-founder Lid Madrid received a grant for their idea of OnSite after studying architecture and being a skater and realizing that skatepark design and construction is a white CIS male-dominated field, with the industry itself gatekeeping non-traditional skaters from learning about and participating in the construction and design of the skateparks they skate every day. Receiving the grant sparked the six founders (Lid, T, Catherine, Bridget, Deb, and Kennedy) to make this event come to life, and eventually create a growing collective from it.
A documentary called Breaking the Barrier is being made about our beginnings, you can support us by donating or sharing our Indiegogo.
Where do you meet? Since May 2021, OnWord has hosted meetups and events in 13 neighborhoods in and around Chicago including Uptown, Lincoln Park, Avondale, Humboldt Park, West Loop, Ukrainian Village, Oak Park, Little Village, Pilsen, South Loop, Douglas, Kenwood…. and counting!
Can you share a story or favorite moment from a meetup?
At OnSite 2021 last May, one of our skaters Bella won a fabulous ProperGnar deck from the giveaway we were hosting. We had a young, Black girl in the audience who started skating with us that day but didn’t have a board. Bella went ahead and gifted the board she won to her and the little girl’s face lit up! She was so happy. It was the sweetest moment we’ve witnessed and it was all thanks to Bella’s kindness. These are the moments we live for. Generosity, sharing resources, and creating a supportive and inclusive environment is what we’re all about.
How can people get involved/support you? You can get involved by coming to our events! If you’d like to volunteer for us, shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Additionally, you can support us by donating to our GoFundMe , donating to our Venmo (@onwordco), following us on Instagram @onwordskateco, sharing our posts with your community and reaching out to us about doing collabs!
What else do you want people to know? Stay tuned for OnSite 2022 this summer! If anyone is interested in volunteering for OnSite’s second year, feel free to email us.
We are hosting a fundraiser, screening party and creative networking event on May 21st from 7-9pm at The Martin in Chicago! We are also teaming up with Chicago Shred Union on June 18th from 11-3pm at La Villiita Skatepark for a Skill Swap and Skate Sesh for roller skaters, bladers, and skateboarders to swap their wheels and learn how to skateboard or roller skate/blade! (SPONSORS are welcome!)