STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – As the pandemic put our normal routine on hold, many of us had to find other ways to pass the time. For an artist in Struthers, he wanted to stay busy and pay it forward, so he combined two of the things he loves.
Justin Arroyo has been combining his love for skateboarding with his passion for art. He is giving back to his community, and he’s doing it on wheels.
“COVID and kids aren’t going to school and everything’s all messed up and like, what can I do to make people happy?” Arroyo asked.
He answered his question by creating Wheels for the People.
“I just wanted to give people who wouldn’t normally be able to have a skateboard, a skateboard or a bicycle or roller skates or a scooter, anything with wheels,” Arroyo said.
He works full-time for a local non-profit, but since the pandemic, Arroyo has turned his back porch into a makeshift art studio.
“I’m inspired by messed up things and taking this horrible thing that’s going on and trying to turn it into a positive,” he said.
People are donating old skateboards and bicycles to him. Arroyo takes the parts and recreates them into what he calls “functional art.”
“The board is not usable but the wheels and the hardware are… The board won’t go to waste because I’ll cut it up and make some kind of art out of it,” Arroyo said.
Then he gives them to people in the community.
“It kind of organically just grew, you know? I don’t really force anything in life, you know, I just kinda let things happen and roll with the punches… roll,” Arroyo said.
In just the first few weeks, Arroyo has given away several bikes and skateboards, loving the smile of surprise he gets to see.
“It means everything, it means everything. That’s all I can say,” Arroyo said. “Yeah, I’m doing good things but it’s really selfish on my part because I think I get more joy out of it than they do and I’m just trying to make people happy and smile.”