A Nov. 30 ceremony to launch the next 5 Columns Project at Stevenson Elementary School was canceled.
It wasn't because students were being punished -- in fact, they demanded it.
'We had a little uprising, a bit of a rebellion," said Henrietta Cartwright, a Grandview Heights resident who coordinates 5 Columns, an ongoing program that matches Stevenson students with artists to create public-art installations at the school.
In the latest project, students worked with Indiana artist Amy Rich to design and sew creatures made out of reused materials donated by Stevenson parents.
"About half of the students had never tried sewing before," Rich said. "I was really surprised at how quickly they took to it."
The original plan was to display the creatures in bleachers that would be placed at the base of the five posts located on Stevenson's front lawn.
"We asked each student to make sure to put a face on their creature," Cartwright said. "The idea was that when people stopped by to look at the creatures, the creatures would be looking at them."
But even before they added the faces, students already were displaying a close attachment to their creations, Rich said.
"We were definitely hearing from teachers that if we went ahead and put them outside, we would be dealing with some tears from students," she said.
"A lot of them were really upset thinking about the little people they created sitting out in the weather, getting rained on.
"We were concerned that some creatures might be smuggled home in book bags," Rich said, smiling.
So those plans were scuttled, and instead of the creatures themselves on display, the columns are adorned with posters featuring color photos of students' creations.
"People will be able to see a picture of what they would've seen," Cartwright said. "It's kind of a bare-bones installation this time."
The display will run through January at the school, 1065 Oxley Road.
And, yes, students will get to take their creatures home.
"They were designed just to sit still and be on display," Cartwright said. "I'm a little worried that they may not hold up to all the hugs the students are going to give them at home."
The students were encouraged to give their creatures any expression they wanted, Rich said.
"It didn't have to just be a happy face," she said. "If they felt like giving them a menacing look or a sad expression, that was fine."
Given the range of emotions that might be displayed on the creatures, Rich and Cartwright collaborated with school counselor Stephanie Doran on the project.
Many of the students designed creatures that seemed to be more naughty than nice, so some creatures are listed on "wanted" posters (like a criminal) instead of "missing" posters (like a lost dog), Cartwright said.
The posters include the students' description of their creature, a reward, where they were last seen and clues found at the scene.
One student who listed a creature as missing offered a reward of $120,100 and noted it last was seen in a doughnut shop. The creature was described as having brown hair and green eyes and standing "13 feet tall."
Another student offered a hefty reward for the capture of his or her wanted creature, which last was seen at the library and is sought for "stealing books and breaking walls."
The reward: $8,000,000,000,000,000. (That's $8 quadrillion, for those who are counting.)
The creature featured on another wanted poster last was seen at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.
The reward for its capture is 10 dolls and two toys.
"That's hard currency for a first-grader," Cartwright said.
When asked about her creature, first-grader Madi Davidson at first said she hadn't picked a name yet.
Then she made an announcement.
"I've got it," Madi said. "Her name is Ella. She's a nice girl. It's a nice name."
Elias Snyder said he called his creature Mr. Spirit.
"That's because he looks like a spirit," Elias said. "I made him look kind of scary, because he feels scary."
Mr. Spirit may look like he's unhappy, but that's not the case.
"He's pretty happy because he's making people nervous," Elias said.
Lily Andrako named her creature Oh Oh.
"She's always surprised at what she sees, so she's constantly saying 'Oh Oh,' " Lily said.
The best part of making the creature was showing her surprise in her raised eyebrows and wide eyes, she said.
Nina Lount said her creature is called Sugar because "she is nice and sweet, just like sugar.
"She's always excited and happy, no matter what happens to her," Nina said.