Old skis foster creativity, art | SteamboatToday.com

Old skis foster creativity, art

Middle school students combine art, shop classes to design projects

Alexis DeLaCruz

Pairs of skis discarded by their owners often are re-sold, recycled or thrown away, but some middle school students discovered last week that old skis are perfect for art projects.

For the past two weeks, Steamboat Springs Middle School students have combined shop and woodworking skills with art skills to create projects using old skis.

Some of the finished projects are being donated to a Friends of the Routt Backcountry charity art auction Nov. 19.

Middle school shop teacher Johnny Walker was eager to give his students the opportunity to combine their art and shop classes to create the projects, especially because it was the first time an art teacher agreed to the undertaking.

“This is something I have been wanting to do for years,” Walker said. “The funnest part of the deal was combining the two classes. In middle school, we try to combine as many classes as we can.”

Walker said he proposed the idea to his students, who were excited to create something that could be put on display in the community.

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Sixth-graders Cristi Valicenti and Dani Perry wanted to make a project they could be proud of and one that might receive bids at the fundraising auction.

“It would be cool to see something we made by ourselves in the community. We’re crossing our fingers someone buys it,” Cristi said.

The two students made a silver bench out of Dani’s old snowboard. The bench has an inscription and sea foam green legs.

“At the beginning of the project we were confused about what we were supposed to do and how to design it, but we finally decided on a bench,” Dani said.

The girls used tape and paint to write a saying Dani read in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”

“Wish for what you want, work for what you need,” is the quote the girls selected. “The saying can put a smile on anyone’s face when they see it,” Dani said.

The girls are just two of the many students who decided to donate their projects to the art auction.

Art teacher Laurelee Mac–Hale said students made picture frames, benches, watches, flowers, guitars and other items with the old pairs of skis.

“This whole project has been great,” she said. “The kids told me how much they realized art is like woodworking because of the similar tools and processes. We were fortunate to be flexible and able to share the kids together.”

MacHale said students who said they weren’t artistic or creative discovered they had unknown passions and talents for art. It’s one of the best lessons students learned, she said.

“The students put a lot of their own personal interest into their projects. We watched as they went through the processes and transformed the materials into art,” she said.

Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades participated in the project.

Although some students became too attached to their projects to donate them to the auction, MacHale said most are eager to make a contribution to the community.

“This project has opened their eyes to the community. Likewise, I want the community to see what these kids have created. They’re nice kids, and they do great work,” she said.

Dani said she hopes to see her bench at a bus stop someday or in someone’s home.

“We made it because we wanted it in the community. We wanted someone to have it,” she said.

The Friends of the Routt Backcountry auction will take place during its Nov. 19 Backcountry Ball at the Depot Art Center. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 f7or nonmembers. Call (303) 494-5266.

— To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com