The sounds of wood slamming against wood, of wheels sliding over a ramp, and of sudden crash landings echoed around the white walls of Drexel University's Pearlstein Gallery on Tuesday. Yet no one seemed alarmed.
"They're shredding in there," said Ed Solego, a former pro-skateboarder-turned-skate-shop-owner-and-videographer.
For the next eight weeks, the space will be transformed from a traditional art gallery into an interactive, pop-up skate park called Philly Radness, set against a projected backdrop that fluctuates in response to the skaters' movements and to the noises they make as they roll and clatter around the space.
It's the work of Solego and artist Eric Cade Schoenborn, who first created a version of the installation for a daylong pop-up in Miami in 2013.
And it's paired with a show of Philadelphia-made skateboard art that functions as a visual eulogy to LOVE Park, the skating destination that was closed in February ahead of renovations.
Schoenborn, in Philadelphia to install the exhibition, said it was his first time back in the city since coming here to skate in LOVE Park in the 1990s.
"It was a pilgrimage site," he said.
Philly, with its deep skateboarding culture, was a natural place to show the work against the context of contributions from local skate photographers and videographers.
Skateboarding, Schoenborn said, is steeped in media: Skaters are always taking photos or video of their moves.
The gallery is open to all skaters (once they've signed waivers).
Toly Bitny, 25, of Francisville, had heard about the installation through Nocturnal Skate Shop. His assessment after several runs around the gallery was simple: "It's awesome. It makes the experience more interesting."
Local enthusiasts may also be interested in the artistic memorial to LOVE Park: salvaged bits of granite pieced together into a sculpture, photos of jury-rigged ramps skaters used to make by propping up the park's loose pavers, and images of skateboarders airborne over benches and trash cans.
Chris Mulhern, a Center City resident and skateboard filmmaker, curated that part of the exhibition.
"I want someone who doesn't skate to watch the documentary and understand how important that space was to skateboarding," he said. "There was this energy when you were skateboarding there."
It was Karen Curry, executive director of Drexel's Institute for Entertainment Studies, who conceived of bringing the exhibition to Philadelphia.
"I liked the idea that you become part of the art, that the art is complete when people interact with the installation," she said. "It might also attract people into the gallery who might not otherwise come."