Skateboarding church creator rejects criticism


ROME (RNS) An artist who converted an abandoned church in Spain into an indoor skateboarding park is defending the project against critics who consider it an act of desecration.

The Santa Barbara church in the northern Spanish town of Llanera, once a place of worship for employees of an explosives factory, had been abandoned since the closure of the factory after the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.

The artist Okuda San Miguel spent a week late last year painting the building with bright colors, featuring faces and a skull on the high ceiling.


The building seems to be in good shape, considering it ceased being a church ~ 75 years ago. Using it as a skate park isn’t very reverent. On the other hand, worse uses might have been possible.

Does simply getting people into the building draw them closer to God? Or do the bright colors and physical activity incline the visitors to have less respect for religion?

Here is the link to the skatepark’s website:


I think the bigger tragedy is that the church was abandoned in the first place.:frowning:


I agree. Abandoned buildings are rarely used for good. This way, rather than attracting shady characters, it can serve as a way to keep kids out of trouble.


When a building is no longer used as a church, isn’t there some kind of “decommissioning” ceremony/service? If so, it’s no longer a church. It’s just a building. I’ve seen former churches used as office buildings, residences, etc. Using one as a skate park doesn’t impress me as being terribly offensive.


Yes, when the Church abandons a building it would be deconsecrated.

There is then no violation of holiness in converting it for secular use, but it is sad that that was necessary.



I really don’t see an issue with this. It was long abandoned as a church decades ago.


I remember a priest telling me about his time as a soldier in WWII. At one time they bivouacked in a former Catholic church - they even drove their Jeeps inside. While that may be a more important use than a skatepark, they are similar as the churches were former Catholic churches.

I’ve been in one former Catholic church that is now owned by the Church of Scientology. That made me sad. :frowning:


The question is, do churches remain ‘holy ground’ even after they cease being churches anymore?

I have a friend Ive known since high school, he bought a small older church and renovated it into his home, he is quite anti-religion though, he just liked it for the space.


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