Summer is always an exciting time in Athens, Georgia, and 2012 is definitely no exception. Nearly eight years ago, The Skate Park of Athens (SPOA) broke ground and became the first modern skate park in the state of Georgia. This summer, Phase 2 of the SPOA project is in full swing! Locals in the community are aiming to raise $30,000 in order to make street skate additions to the already-existing deep and shallow bowls at the park. The 2012 Summer of SPOA is a series of Athens GA events being held throughout the summer to raise funds, while honoring our local skate culture.

The Summer of SPOA events include many art exhibits throughout Athens, indicative of the sport of skateboarding. A photography show entitled "Concrete Culture" will continue through July 25, at Cine in Athens. Work by Bob Brussack, Jason Thrasher, Chad Osburn, Kent Pierson, and Ian McFarlane will be on display, and photographs will be available for purchase. The Hudgens Center for the Arts will host "Summer of Sk8" through August 25, an exhibition of different skateboard designs. The "Board Room" Exhibit at The Gallery@Hotel Indigo- Athens features skate decks designed by 55 Athens artists. On the last day of  the exhibit, September 9, Hotel Indigo-Athens will hold "The Board Room" skateboard auction from 4-10 p.m. Don't miss out on the opportunity to experience unique Athens art, while supporting the local the community!

Aside from artistic works, the Summer of SPOA event calendar is also packed with rock concerts to aid in the fundraising efforts. Saturday, July 21, Farm 255 will host a benefit concert for SPOA. Performance times, participating bands, and ticket prices are TBA. Check out the restaurant's music calendar for updates and details. The 40 Watt Club will also host a Skate Park of Athens Benefit concert, featuring Dead Confederate, Brothers, Twin Tigers, and SheHeHe, on Friday, August 10. Tickets are $7 in advance, and can be purchased at the venue's website. Go see bands Grass Giraffes and Abandon the Earth Mission at the SPOA Skate Rock Show at the Georgia Theatre on Saturday, August 28. Finalized show times are TBA.

The grand finale of the Summer of SPOA events will be the Skate Rock Festival, held on Saturday, October 6. Kick off this celebration with the SPOA Rock Show Pre-Party the night before on Friday, October 5, at Hotel Indigo-Athens. Saturday's Skate Rock Festival at the Skate Park of Athens will include great live music performed on one of the AthFest outdoor stages, exciting skate and BMX demos, and an open skate session for skaters. The 2012 Summer of SPOA is a great way to celebrate SPOA itself, the sport of skateboarding, and Athens' rich, diverse culture!

--Elizabeth Bertrand