Snowboard style

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— The next Small Works Gallery show will have three times as many entries as any other show in the history of gallery.

So far, 108 pieces have been sent to Steamboat Springs from all over the United States. Artists in Canada, Australia and England also sent in work. Show organizer Susan Schiesser is still waiting for artwork from Japan, Germany, Italy and China.

All this interest is in what some may think is an unlikely medium -- a snowboard.

The entries are for the Ride Snowboard Art Contest and are currently hanging at the Depot and at Toys in the Attic.

The contest began with Schiesser's idea to have a Small Works Gallery show to feature snowboard artwork. She contacted Ride Snowboards to help with the show. Ride creative director Mike Styskal and Ride art director Mark Fankhauser wanted to get involved and came up with the concept for the contest. They advertised the contest on Ride's Web site, which receives hits from around the world. Schiesser has received 250 inquiries since November, when she began to spread the word about the show.

Styskal and Fankhauser said in November their hope is to give a little back to the community they serves.

Community is the real theme of the contest, Schiesser said.

"I think it is important to show that snowboarders have a strong art voice and a sense of community," she said.

The entries, which are designed on a 6-by-30-inch snowboard shape, show a spectrum talent. Established and amateur graphic artists, pen-ink artists and acrylic artists all got into the act.

Professional-level artists submitted pieces, while pure snowboarding enthusiasts without artistic backgrounds created some of the other works. Each artist could enter up to three pieces.

People of all ages are involved, but most are college-aged or younger artists.

Erin Wahed, for example, is a 14-year-old from Montreal, Canada, who has three pieces entered into the contest.

"I do a lot of digital art," she said by phone. "But this is the first time that I've put it on a snowboard."

Wahed is a snowboarder and learned of the contest at a snowboard shop.

No matter what, everyone's art was accepted and will hang for the show.

"The kids, they are sending me letters saying how cool it is that someone will be looking at their art work," Schiesser said. "It really is just a happy, positive thing."

Styskal and Fankhauser are coming to Steamboat to judge the contest on Feb. 7 and winners will be announced on Feb. 10.

Best of show gets a free Ride snowboard; first prize is a Powder Cats trip or $200, second is $150 and third is $100.

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