The photograph EL THUMPER, 1976, by C.R. Stecyk (image courtesy of the Z-Boy Archive) is part of a California Heritage Museum exhibit tracing the evolution of skateboards.

“Skateboard: Evolution and Art in California,” an exhibition tracing the evolution of skateboards from pre-1950 to the present, showcasing the riders, designers, artists, and manufacturers that created the California phenomenon, will be presented at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica.

The show opens to the general public on Saturday, November 14th and continues through Sunday, May 30th, 2010 at the museum, 2612 Main St., Santa Monica. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Nathan Pratt, an original member of the legendary Z-Boys skate team, is the guest curator for the exhibit, in conjunction with museum staff curator Michael Trotter. Advisory committee members include Zephyr team co-founders Jeff Ho and Skip Engblom, Cris Dawson (1966 Hobie Champ), Z-Boys Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, and 1980s world champion Christian Hosoi.

From the first planks of wood with metal roller skate wheels nailed to the bottom, to the modern polyurethane wheels and kicktails, skateboards have propelled skaters to greater heights of performance and style while taking “sidewalk surfing” from a homegrown activity to a worldwide cultural phenomenon, a museum spokesman said.

More than 275 rare boards from some of the world’s top collections, including Jason Cohn, Dale Smith/Skate Designs Inc., Todd Huber/Skatelab Skatepark, Ray Flores, and James Lang/South Bay Skates, will be on display.

Others who lent from their collections are Kevin Anderson/Model Worm, Tony Converse, Cris Dawson, Engblom, Wayne and Donna Gunter/Surfing Cowboys, Mike Horelick/Tunnel Skateboards, Mike Kolar, Gordon McClelland, Marc McKee, Aaron Murray, James O’Mahoney/Santa Barbara Surfing Museum, Pratt, Mark Richards/Val Surf, Ronnie/Animal House, Steve Salyer/Pastures of Heaven, Damon Thorley/ Deluxe Distribution, and Cary B. Weiss.

Exhibit photographs and art are by C.R. Stecyk III, Glen E. Friedman, Craig Fineman, Wynn Miller, Kevin Ancell, Wes Humpston, who document the movement and its personalities.

This is the first exhibition of the California skate movement to be shown in “Dogtown,” the Santa Monica/Ocean Park area where modern skateboarding originated.

A full series of events, including film screenings of “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” “Skater Dater” and “Rising Son: The Christian Hosoi Story,” will take place at the museum and the downtown Santa Monica library.

Talks, photo exhibits, special guest appearances and autograph sessions will take place throughout the exhibit’s run into 2010.

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