The Nuevo Abo show held at the Subject Matter gallery in Costa Mesa on Saturday, June 5, 2004, was impressive: the ultra-stylish crowd, the amount and diversity of the intricate art hung with thought and precision, the free Skaterade/vodka drinks (thanks to Salman Agah and newly dubbed “The Kickflip), and DJs spinning tunes that kept feet tapping. Although the night in itself was a success, everyone there definitely knew it was just part of a bigger picture.

All proceeds from the show directly benefit Elemental Awareness, whose “mission is to reach out to youth through the avenues of skateboarding and nature skills, in order to develop self-esteem, awareness, and the tools to lead successful lives. At Nuevo Abo the mission couldn’t have been proven any better than by the wall of photos, essays, and decks hand painted by kids from an Elemental Awareness event held earlier this year.

The art that hung on the walls was as eclectic as you could get: everyone from super established artists like Dave Kinsey and Yogi Proctor to environmental activists like Julia Butterfly Hill (yes, the girl who spent 783 days in a tree), to the founder of Element Skateboards, Johnny Schillereff, and the founders of Elemental Awareness, Todd Larson, and Mike Kershnar, among many others, donated paintings, drawings, photography, as well as unique clothing and visual art pieces.

Throughout the evening, people wandered in and out of the packed gallery commenting on the hours of time spent on the show and keeping the bartenders busy. At ten P.M., an announcement was made to head over to the Bamboo Terrace next door for the afterparty. The process was slow, but everyone migrated to soak up a band that was pretty much a musical version of the art they had viewed earlier.

Look out for all of Elemental Awareness art goings-on in the future—they’re guaranteed not to disappoint. And in the process you just could gain a little conscience and perspective to go along with your hangover. Hey, I said “could.
—Jardine Hammond