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Hayden students hold the presses

Art class teaches history, printmaking process after teacher receives grant

Jennifer DuBois, a junior at Hayden High School, talks with classmates as she rubs ink into the etchings on her plexiglass printing plate Tuesday. DuBois' printing plate depicts the Edison Public School where her great-grandmother taught after it was constructed in Hayden in 1900.
Brian Ray

— The Edison School, built in 1890, has been replaced by the Red Stone Motel, but Hayden junior Jennifer DuBois found a way to bring Hayden’s original school back to life.

Standing over an etched replica of the building, complete with bell tower and tall windows, DuBois rubbed black ink off her drawing.

“My great-grandma taught there,” DuBois said.



DuBois was in the process of making dozens of original prints of the Edison School as part of the Hayden High School’s 2-D Drawing, Painting and Printmaking class.

Art teacher Susan Koehler received a $2,200 grant from the Yampa Valley Legacy Education Foundation that she used to buy a new printing press and materials for the project.



Nearly two dozen high school art students selected historical sites in Hayden and several in Steamboat to recreate through prints.

The students will eventually put a full set of prints together for the Hayden High School, the Hayden Public Library and the Hayden Heritage Center. The remaining prints will be sold to the public. Sales for several students have already begun.

The prints cost $20. Half of that money will go back to the art department for future supplies. The remaining $10 will go to the students.

“That is a great bargain for original art,” Koehler said.

In Koehler’s grant application she laid out her vision for the project and why she thought it would be so valuable for her students. Much of the value is in learning how to make prints, but part of the project’s value is learning about Hayden’s heritage, creating written descriptions of those projects and developing a marketing plan for selling prints.

All those project requirements fit into content standards for the district and/or the state.

It was a well-thought out project, several of Koehler’s students said.

But it also has been long and involved, those students added.

Senior Dana Hayes and senior Molly Davis sat at the two pottery wheels, away from the press and ink Tuesday. They weren’t in art class, but they had taken a break to describe their experience making their projects.

Hayes said the only exposure she had previously had to printmaking were small Christmas cards. Most art projects take no more than a week or two, but the Hayden students in Koehler’s printmaking class have been working for more than a month.

“It’s all individual marks,” Hayes said, holding up her print of the Bud Werner Memorial Library with a forest in the background. “The etching needle made this terrible sound, and I had to put in all these trees.”

Davis took a different approach to the project, almost an abstract look at the original Routt County Courthouse near the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden. Davis captured the side of the old courthouse burned in a fire in her etch. She also captured the grasses and weeds in the foreground.

Once the girls had finished their etching, which included several steps, they inked their etches, wiped off the excess ink and rolled the prints out on the new press.

“I like the new press,” Davis said. “It makes me feel like a captain on a ship.”

The new press has a silver wheel to turn, which sort of resembles the helm of a ship.

Each student was at a different stage in the printmaking process because some prints took longer to etch and some take much longer than expected to ink and print. Koehler originally planned on the students making 20, but she revised that total to 10 because of the length of the project.

The historical sites the Hayden students featured in the prints, which are available for sale, are a rodeo picture of a bucking bronc, children cross-country skiing, the Hayden town pump, the grain elevator, the Hayden Congregational Church, the Delaney barn and house, the Carpenter Ranch barn and house, The Solandt Hospital, the first train in Hayden, Bud Werner Memorial Library and ski hill, Steamboat Art Depot, the Edison School, the old Routt County Courthouse and fashion drawings by Ernestine Purcell.

Anyone interested in purchasing a print can contact Koehler at the high school at 276-3761.

– To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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