Oasis Skateboard Factory

Oasis Skateboard Factory

OSF Teachers Craig Morrison (Left) and Lauren Hortie (Right). (Photo Courtesy of Oasis Skateboard Factory)

Oasis Skateboard Factory (OSF) is an alternative secondary school that has its own unique curriculum of teaching students how to build a skateboard from scratch, design a skateboard, as well as how to market and build entrepreneurial skills.

Since its official opening in 2009, OSF has attracted and engaged many young students in their school where they can find themselves in a place with people who value skateboard culture.

The idea of an alternative school that teaches youth how to build a skateboard to re-engage them into school was once thought of as a crazy idea by Craig Morrison. But once this idea was pitched and launched, OSF has proven to be successful in re-engaging students, who in the past have been disengaged in secondary schools, to get an arts-based education that involves hands-on experience. OSF was also mentioned as #1 in the coolest schools list in the Toronto Star.

 

OSF is located at the Scadding Court Community Centre, which is very close to Spadina Road and Kensington Market. Both of these intersections are heavily populated with lots of graffiti and murals that can be seen on the side of almost every business store in the area. The school is also situated near King and Queen streets, where most corporate and small businesses reside, making it a great spot to benefit from local opportunities and resources . There’s also a skate park just outside of the school where a community of skaters can hang out after classes.

 

For OSF students, school starts at 10:30am and ends at 3:30pm, making it the only school that starts late. The purpose of starting late was to reduce the number of late comers and sleepy students so they can be engaging, productive, and alert. Doesn’t every student wish their school started at 10:30am instead 8:00am? Students have a selection of courses to choose from, which includes English, Business, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Art and Design. Students can earn four credits for each semester.

Oasis Skateboard Factory - Fresh Print Magazine

Portrait stencils of OSF students (Photo Courtesy of Oasis Skateboard Factory)

One of the art classes has a special focus on street art and graffiti/mural art, which teaches students the legal aspects of street art and how they can be viewed as beautiful art on the side of businesses, stores, and vandalized walls. As some kids can get in trouble from graffiti and skateboarding, OSF teaches their students that these activities are not completely marginal and can be profitable in business. The most popular workshop that OSF offers is the Skateboard Building Workshop. The fun part of the process involves designing the art and stenciling the skateboard with spray paints. Some of the skateboards are sold at events, art shows and their year-end graduation show.

Oasis Skateboard Factory - Fresh Print Magazine

OFS students holding up a skateboard for their client (Photo Courtesy of Oasis Skateboard Factory)

To find out more about OSF’s past projects or if you are interested in getting involved, please check out their website and contact Craig Morrison.

Michael Nguyen is an artist and videographer based in Toronto. He attended the School of Design at George Brown College where he studied Art and Design Foundation. Michael enjoys making short film, and is a freelance videographer. He loves to use art as an instrument to express, communicate, inspire, and educate.