Glide beneath art at Detroit's Rainbow City Roller Rink
Detroit — Lirile Elezi laughed Friday as she watching her three children wipe out alongside others as they tested out a new temporary roller rink downtown.
The Macomb Township resident said the family played hooky to be among the first to enter the whimsical Rainbow City Roller Rink at 1001 Woodward Avenue across from Campus Martius Park.
"My kids love to skate. We're a hockey family. My youngest, Aaron, who's 4, is already a good skater," she said. "I think this is awesome. We've seen such a resurgence in the city and it's nice to see more kid-friendly options."
The 5,280-square-foot installation was created by the Library Street Collective, a Detroit-based contemporary art gallery, in collaboration with Los Angeles-based artist duo FriendsWithYou. The rink will remain open through Jan. 27.
Skaters glide across the green and white striped floor beneath eight colorful striped inflated sculptures, suspended in the air above. The largest inflatable figure features a rotating head and stands 30 feet tall, the collective said.
Visitors can tie on traditional four-wheeled roller skates available for free or bring their own in-lines skates. Admission is free and lockers are also provided for visitors at no cost.
The collective said the idea for the rink first came about in mid-October and took about five weeks to arrange. Library Street Collective co-owner Anthony Curis said organizers wanted to make skating accessible to everyone.
"Detroit has a huge history in roller skating and it was about making something accessible in the downtown area that has ties into the holiday cheer happening there already," he said.
Curis declined to disclose the cost of the installation and rink but said organizers hope to continue more public projects after the rink closes at the end of January.
Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III have worked collectively since 2002 to spread ‘Magic, Luck, and Friendship’ as FriendsWithYou. They're known for whimsical, interactive art works, according to the collective.
"The art of FriendsWithYou spreads a purity and positivity very rarely experienced outside of childhood, but is created for people of all ages," Curis said. "Their work has the power to take you out of the reality of the day-to-day and just be in the moment."
DeShawn Beal from Grosse Pointe Park begged his mother to visit the rink as soon as it opened so he could practice his moves on traditional roller skates, he said.
"I love to skate and I normally go to Riverside (Arena) or Skateland but this is a nice glossy top," said Beal, 13, who said the rink floor felt like he was "skating on blocks" and was "a bit harder to slow down" than traditional roller rinks.
Rainbow City Roller Rink will be open to the public from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Admittance will be permitted on a first-come, first-served basis.
On busy days and weekends, attendees will be given a wristband to limit skating sessions to one hour.
For more information, please visit rainbowcitydetroit.com.