When Anna May Dutton was a Seattle college student, she would take the bus to the highest point on Mercer Island to study history. When she felt like she couldn’t absorb one more fact, she would slide her books into her pack, hop on her skateboard and bomb the hills home.
After she graduated, Dutton spent a number of years in Europe before returning to Seattle. It was a “Help Wanted” sign at Pike Place Market that led her to a florist job and the career she still has today. These days, Dutton works as a florist at Adore Floral in NYC, putting together custom high-end flower arrangements.
And at the age of 35, she still skates — a lot.
“The New York skate community welcomed me with open arms. It’s a group of eclectic creatives and I felt right at home,” Dutton tells GrindTV. Late last fall, Refinery29, a women’s lifestyle website, did a video profile with Dutton, and the internet was just charmed by the skater/florist thing.
“There weren’t a lot of women skaters when I arrived here, but there’s been some development,” says Dutton. “I have to give credit to Girls Riders Organization. They’ve held meet-ups, lessons and sessions for girls. So there’s been great progress in the time that I’ve lived there.”
“Pushing forward as a singular and under-supported gender minority in anything is really important to me,” adds Dutton. “Drumming to your own rhythm really centers a person. To have the practice of continually forging past the expectation of others brings you to sit more in the center of yourself. And that is really freeing.”
Recently, she traveled to San Carlos, Arizona, to connect with skateboarders on an Apache reservation with her friend, Magda Love. The two had met when Love, a painter who does vibrant jungle murals with inspiring feminine compositions, was looking for female skaters to collaborate with.
The women hit it off immediately and worked together on several projects before embarking on this most recent adventure.
“We just wanted to bring our passion to a place that needed it. The reservation is underserved and not getting the support they need. We just wanted to bring a little light and love. We found Doug Miles, who owns Apache Skateboards,” says Dutton.
Dutton and Love collaborated with Miles, who is also a muralist, focusing on colorful native portraiture and social-issue-focused pieces.
“There was no budget for the trip,” says Dutton, “so Magda and I raised the money through a GoFundMe campaign. We didn’t know what to expect, but it was an amazing experience.”
Cody Umans made an edit of the whole experience:
Now, Dutton is preparing to tackle the next chapter of her life as she moves to Wyoming. She and her boyfriend are hitting the road in a truck with a makeshift bunk, headed for Jackson Hole.
“It’s as good as Vail or Aspen with half the pretentia,” Dutton laughs.