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Snow's not white at the elementary school

Jackson Tokheim (front) works to spray his bird the perfect shade of red while (back) Tyler Gerhardt and Mara Bapp work on their McDonald's car.1 / 3
Mandi Wilberg, Maya Villeneuve, Michael Steinmetz and Dylan Lane pose with their flaming basketball snow sculpture.2 / 3
Austin Kopacz sprays his massive SCC basketball sculpture during art class Jan. 12.3 / 3

What do you get when you have students, endless amounts of snow and spray bottles filled with paint?

You get winter weather works of art.

Fourth grade students in Jason Rohde's art class have been taking their creativity to the great outdoors, building and painting sculptures in the snow around the elementary school.

Rohde said six years ago he "got the idea from the Nazca Lines in Peru and the Effigy Mounds in Iowa."

The idea is a hit with students and they weren't shy about expressing how fun outside classes are.

Rohde said his students like the variety, especially getting outside the classroom walls.

"The students love it, they love to get outside and create art using different art supplies and materials," Rohde said.

Rohde said another advantage to going outside is size. "We can create something colossal and not be confined to an 11-by-18 sheet of paper," he said.

Rohde said the snow sculpting and painting teaches students how "art is always changing." Students have come to understand that the artwork they spent an hour working on could be covered in snow the next day or that certain colors of paint melt in the snow faster than others.

Students have also learned to appreciate how "everything can be art."

Rohde says the students are learning about more than just creating and appreciating visually appealing artwork.

"The skills and tools the students use are team work, planning, compromising (with the limited number of spray bottles) and good old manual labor with hands and feet," Rohde said.

Rohde said he plans to do the snow project every year with his fourth-graders.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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