House of Vans kicks off weekend-long party in Detroit

Sarah Rahal Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Detroit — The House of Vans kicked off Thursday bringing its "Off the Wall" ethos to life at a west Midtown historic building for its weekend-long pop-up.

Keviyan Richardson of Detroit flips his board over the rail in the pop-up skateboard course.

After a short line and a quick security check, skateboarding enthusiasts entered the first Detroit event for House of Vans.

Fans of skateboarding, skate culture and the Santa Ana, California-based company milled around the dark hallways of the former Jefferson school site. The gymnasium was turned into a skate park on the second level with a viewing deck on the third. A large crowd assembled and plenty more were expected through the weekend, said Brooke Burt, Vans Senior Director of Lifestyle Marketing.

"We have been very inspired by the community turnout for the opening night of House of Vans Detroit. The Jason Abraham Smith screen printing and Juxtapoz zine workshops were well attended and skaters of all ages came out for the Open Skate Sessions," Burt said. "We kicked off the four day event with amazing performances from Amber Mark and Protomartyr, with Thundercat still to take the stage."

Scott Braun of Woodhaven, a 30 year veteran of the sport, was in line to enter the skatepark with his young son Wyatt. They heard about House of Vans from social media and wanted to check it out.

“I haven’t seen anything quite like this,” he said.

With his stickers helmet and skateboard in tow, Wyatt said he was looking forward to skating and named Jason Lee and Mark Gonzales as some of his favorite skateboarders.

“Some of the oldies,” he said.

Other pop-up locations have included Paris; Montreal; Guangzhou, China; Hong Kong; and Mexico City, along with permanent House of Vans locations in Chicago and London.

You'll find custom kicks through Sunday at the former school site at 950 Selden in Detroit. Events are free, but organizers are asking that those interested in attending would RSVP at