Rocky Fork Enterprise

Community pride

City's plows will push kid-painted blades when snow arrives

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Elementary and middle school students are painting murals on the blades of five snow plows in an effort to promote community pride and student teamwork. Pictured are Middle School South sixth-graders and Girl Scout Troop 970 members (from top) Racheal Fife, Alex Fant, Melanie Whalen and Dakota Jordan.
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Gahanna residents will be able to enjoy mobile art murals this winter, thanks to a new partnership between the city and schools.

Students from Gahanna-Jefferson schools are painting murals on the blades of five city snow plows in an effort to promote community pride and student teamwork, said Dottie Franey, service director.

Lincoln Elementary School art teacher Sharon Iseringhausen involved local Girl Scout troops, saying they enjoy community service.

"My little girls in first grade each submitted a design using a winter theme, and I took one piece from each design and made a collage," she said. "The Scouts from Gahanna Middle School did the painting."

Iseringhausen said the plow project is another way to promote art in public places.

Franey first saw the idea in the January 2012 APWA Reporter. Green Bay, Wis.'s, street superintendent said snow plowing represents a large part of what the city does, in the public's eye, so Green Bay sought a way to incorporate a positive influence with the city's plows.

That article then spurred a similar project by Canal Winchester.

Franey proposed the idea to Gahanna's service department, and administrative assistant Jennifer Hamilton ran with it.

In addition to Lincoln Elementary School and Middle School South, other schools participating are Royal Manor Elementary School, High Point Elementary School and Lincoln High School.

Each elementary has been assigned a small plow, approximately 2.5 feet high and 9 feet wide, and the high school has been given two 4-by-9-foot plows to paint.

"The teachers had the liberty to decide which class would paint the plows or if it were to span students from all grades," Franey said. "For example, the high school has a total of four students painting the plows (two for each plow). Each school was allowed to come up with their own theme for their snow-plow blade mural."

Hamilton coordinated with each school to determine a time and location on school grounds to drop off the plows.

Franey said the city provided the primer, paint, seal coat and drop cloths, and the schools contributed the brushes. She said Sherwin-Williams was extremely accommodating and helpful in supplying the necessary materials along with a discount.

Gahanna's service department will decorate the trucks and assemble lights to the plow blades so each painted plow blade will be lighted with some type of spotlight to become an entry in the 2012 Holiday Lights! parade Friday, Nov. 23.

"Not only will students be able to see their work displayed in the 2012 Holiday Lights! parade ... but also in use as the plows clear snow this winter," Franey said. "This is a project that we hope will be the beginning of a new tradition in Gahanna."

Iseringhausen said the partnership with the city and the Gahanna schools art department began with the Creekside bridge mural project.

"We have done several other joint projects since then to promote public art in the schools and the city," she said. "The most recent of these projects is the installation of the sculpture designed by high school student Staci Alatsis in Margaret Scott's art class. Sculptor Steve Bush created Alatsis' piece, which was installed at Creekside in September.

"The snow-plow project is just the next step in a wonderful relationship formed by a mutual love of the arts."

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