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SPRINGFIELD — Since June, Art for the Soul Gallery has been showcasing an exhibition of skateboard decks designed and executed by local and national artists. The exhibit’s closing reception will be held at the gallery on 1500 Main St. in Springfield on Sunday, Nov. 5 from 3 to 6 p.m.

All skate decks are available for purchase. In honor of National Mental Health Month, funds will be donated to Behavioral Health Network Inc. and the Disability Law Center.

The public is invited to view the works of new and veteran gallery artists and vote on their favorite designs. Prizes will be awarded to artists in several categories as chosen by visitors.

This exhibition is a part of Gio’s Ollie Session, a series of events that aim to dispel the stigma surrounding skateboarding, advance inclusivity, and promote safety. According to Art for the Soul Executive Director Rosemary Tracy Woods, “it’s time we changed people’s negative perceptions about skateboarding. We want to open the doors and encourage the youth of Springfield to pursue the art of skateboarding — and to do it safely.”

Art for the Soul also participated in the National Skateboard Day celebration at Greenleaf Community Center on June 20. The day’s activities included a Community Paint Party with Commonwealth Murals and an informational booth with Theory Skateshop.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Art for the Soul Gallery will host a book signing with Springfield native and award-winning costume designer to celebrate the launch of her book, The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther.

The free event will take place on Friday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. at Tower Square, 1500 Main St., in the second-floor food court. Books will be available for purchase at Art for the Soul Gallery. Light refreshments will be provided by Nosh. Parking will be validated if off-street parking is not available. Attendees are invited to come dressed in the attire of one of Carter’s movie costumes.

“I’ve known Ruth for many years,” said Rosemary Tracy Woods, Art for the Soul Gallery executive director. “Her extraordinary talent was always evident. It was only a matter of time before the world would acknowledge her greatness.”

For three decades, Carter has shaped the story of the Black experience on screen, from the ’80s streetwear of Do the Right Thing to the royal regalia of Coming to America. Her work on Marvel’s Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only brought Afrofuturism to the mainstream, but also made her the first Black winner of an Oscar in costume design and the first Black woman to win two Academy Awards in any category. In 2021, she became the second-ever costume designer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The book signing will coincide with the completion of the Ruth Carter mural at Rebecca Johnson Elementary School in Mason Square.

This event is made possible with the help of sponsors and community partners including the office of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, the Springfield Cultural Council, the Springfield Cultural Partnership, the Springfield Department of Health & Human Services, Smokey Joe’s, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Zi Zi Omega Chapter, Olive Tree, Common Wealth Murals, and TSM Design.