We received generous individual donations to help bring Art 120′s Urban Art Bike Camp to life right here at the East Chattanooga YFD Center during the first two weeks of July! The kids who followed the process through to completion were awarded certificates during a special cook-out lunch and Art Bike Expo at Coolidge Park last Saturday, July 15.

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In spite of the rain sprinkles, the kids had a blast showing off their bikes to the comments and cheers of curious park visitors. Lexi Buckner proudly displayed her Dia de los Muertos style “Skull Bike,” complete with a skull helmet to match.

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Meanwhile Eve McClure created a sparkly-pink “Ladybug Bike” with 7″ records attached to the wings as the spots. Eve was headed to a 50-year family reunion directly following Saturday’s picnic, and her grandfather confirmed that “Ladybug” has been Eve’s family nickname for years.

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Coreyun Richardson created a swivel “Race Car Bike” that’s particularly tricky to maneuver, although he makes it look easy. Because he wasn’t able to come out to the ride on Saturday, he received his certificate the next week in front of his fellow campers at the East Chattanooga YFD Center.

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Thanks to committed donors and the time investment from Art 120′s caring and talented instructors, Urban Art Bike Camp accomplished its two biggest goals:

1. Exposing a new generation of local youth to the fun and challenge of safely using professional welding tools to construct original Art Bike designs.

2. Creating three new Art Bikes for Art 120′s fleet of whimsical bikes to be ridden during this year’s Glass Street LIVE parade on October 8 as the finale event for City Celebration. 

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In addition to those outcomes, the site selection–partnering with East Chattanooga YFD Center– provided campers there with unique exposure and proximity to the welding and design work underway. Mr. Drake, director of East Chatt YFD, was very pleased with the respect shown to the space and the artistic element the team brought to the regular pace of summer camp. “It was very exciting to watch the bikes take shape and see the dedication the kids put into the process. I think it’s really neat what they set up, and I know they’re all enjoying it so much,” Mr. Drake said last week.

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When Outdoor Chattanooga came to provide a bike safety rodeo for the students, Kate improvised with Mr. Drake so all the kids at East Chatt YFD Center’s camp learned bike safety that day. As for the next steps, the bikes have generated anticipation for the upcoming Glass Street LIVE block party this fall, and several local youth at the East Chatt YFD Center like Kadesha Cook remembered building puppets for last year’s parade, and are eager to try their skills out on the bikes this time around.

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Kate Warren, director of Art 120 says, “While only our campers had access to power tools and welding, the youth at the Rec Center crowded around our teachers as they taught students how to change a tire and replace a bicycle chain. By the second week, Coreyun was able to ride his special hinge bike and everyone at the Rec Center cheered him on and took turns riding. Now we have a lot of kids that want to build an art bike too.”

Check out video footage including interviews with the participants on our YouTube channel HERE.