It didn't take a wizard to build an emerald facade for Mid Oregon Credit Union's trip down the yellow brick road on Halloween, just some creatively talented art students and a teacher who values the importance of kids working together.
Culver High School art students created a replica of the land from over the rainbow — Oz — to go along with the credit union staff's Wizard of Oz Halloween costumes they wore for the annual Merchant Costume Contest put on by the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
The set was complete with a replica Emerald City, Dorothy's house, a whole barrel of flying monkeys and a field of vibrant poppies.
The credit union staff had nothing but admiring words to say, showing off the hard work the students had put into the project.
"They did an amazing job," said Deanna Shaw, who works at the bank and helped get the students involved.
"This was such an awesome opportunity for the art department students," said Jill Chapman, CHS art teacher.
Shaw, whose daughter is a recent Culver grad, approached Chapman to see if the students would want to do the project.
"I immediately jumped on this opportunity for a couple reasons. One, it is incredibly valuable for students to participate in some form of group work," she said. "It's a life lesson that too many take with a grain of salt. To learn to work with others, delegating work, and compromising ideas is a skill that everyone should learn."
The second reason was, the idea that "for students to create something, and put time into a project that ultimately will not be theirs to take home can be a humbling experience," Chapman said.
She split the students up into teams for the project — one for the flying monkeys, one for the poppies, one for Dorothy's house and another, bigger team for the Emerald City.
"I left most of the work delegation up to the students. As most can imagine, this led to some bumpy roads, but I was proud to watch the groups work through those patches and still turn out some really cool work," she said.
The goal with the project was to use everyday materials. "Creating a 'great' art piece does not require the most expensive materials," Chapman said.
All of the pieces that ended up in the final project are made out of cardboard, and where they were needed, the group built wooden braces to hold the facades up.
Throughout the process, the students weren't told where the art was going to be displayed. They were simply told that their work would be an immersive piece and would end up being displayed in a local business on Halloween.
"That puts a whole other kind of pressure on students. It would not just be their name attached to a piece that would only be for their eyes and mine to see," Chapman said. "A whole community would get to experience it, and not only their individual name would be attached, but their classmates' and their school's name would be attached to it too."
"I hope these students got at least of glimmer of what it can feel like to put a community's needs ahead of their own," Chapman said. "I hope the kids are as proud of their work as I am."
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