Art for the Soul Gallery to Announce Transformational Arts & Cultural Project

Friday, April 1, 2022 at 10:00am Tower Square

Gio’s Ollie Session, funded by MassDevelopment, involves
a collaboration between three Gateway Cities.

(SPRINGFIELD, MA)—Gio’s Ollie Session celebrates skateboard culture with a series of events

that aim to dispel the stigma of skateboard culture, advance inclusivity, and promote safety.

Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee will be collaborating on events as well as each hosting

their own activities. Gateway Cities coordinator Jeannette Rivera of La Diaspora in Chicopee

and Damany and Theresa Gordan of Genuine Culture in Holyoke will be teaming up with Art

for the Soul Gallery in this exciting endeavor.


MassDevelopment has provided grant funding to launch this collaboration. The Gallery

invites community sponsors and partners to attend the announcement to learn how they

can support the activities in Springfield. Events will include a Helmet Painting Party hosted by

Common Wealth Murals, a Skateboard Exhibition, “Go Skate Weekend”, and more. Attendees

will also learn more about the young, vibrant skateboarder whose life came to a tragic end

and after whom this project is named. Through Gio’s Ollie Session, gateway city coordinators

aim to honor his legacy, and inspire and educate young skateboarders.


On February 10, 2022, Springfield’s Park Commission voted unanimously to approve the

building of a new bike and skateboard park to be built on eight acres of land near the

Springfield Boys & Girls Club. The Gallery hopes to activate the community in support of

the new park and skateboarding in general.


According to Mayor Domenic Sarno, “Less than one year ago, I issued a proclamation

recognizing “National Go Skateboard Day” in the City of Springfield. We’re grateful to

Rosemary Tracy Woods for championing this exciting project.” National Go Skate Day on

June 21, 2022 will serve as the culminating event.


According to Ms. Woods, “It’s time we changed people’s perceptions about skateboarding.

Dr. Neftalie Williams, the first ‘Ambassador of Skateboarding, and envoy for the US Department of State’, learned to skateboard right here in Springfield as a kid. Skateboarding has taken him all over the world, and provided the basis for his research. We want to open the doors and encourage the youth of Springfield to pursue the art of skateboarding, and to do it safely.”


About Art for the Soul Gallery

Art for the Soul Gallery is a non-profit based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 2015,

Art for the Soul works to showcase diverse artists, unique experiences, and inspiring educational opportunities. Learn more about Art for the Soul by visiting artforthesoulgallery.com.