Milk may end up building more than strong teeth and bones for a group of Bald Eagle Area middle and high school students.
About 24 art club members this fall used 2,000 recycled milk cartons to construct “Safe Landing,” a large, almost 4-foot high sculpture of three hot air balloons in different stages of inflation.
They didn’t choose their material out of thriftiness. Cartons were required for the national “Made by Milk” scholastic art competition — at least 100 intact ones in each entry.
Entries also had to include a statement about how students would use the $5,000 grand prize. BEA’s artists decided they would put up a greenhouse for the school garden if their artwork wins.
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Online voting, which started Monday and ends Dec. 6, will determine the elementary, middle and high school category winners. BEA entered the ninth-12th-grade division.
Winners will be announced Jan. 6.
BEA’s bid began when Mark Ott, the school district’s director of food service, suggested the annual contest to art teacher Rose Cox at the start of the semester.
In turn, she presented the idea to the art club. They liked it, and better yet, supplies weren’t going to be a problem.
“We definitely have a supply of milk cartons being in the public school system,” Cox said, adding the only other materials needed were adhesive, a couple of dowel rods and a cardboard box.
First, they needed a subject in keeping with the contest’s transportation theme. Fred Flintstone’s car was proposed and discarded. So was a large hot air balloon, rejected as too unwieldy.
“They tossed around ideas, brainstorming, and did a democratic vote,” Cox said.
Once a design emerged, then came the hard work — collecting sour-smelling cartons and rinsing them, sometimes more than twice.
Finally, the artwork began taking shape. Meeting weekly for a couple of hours, the students cut, curved and glued cartons to form baskets and balloons resting on a muddy field.
Cox said club president Josh Bechdel kept the assembly line production rolling smoothly.
“He was very good at orchestrating the whole thing and making sure everyone had a part and contributed,” she said.
Throughout, she said, she witnessed teamwork, from drafting the initial design to deciding on the goal for the prize money to solving production problems that cropped up.
“They don’t know if they want to smell another milk carton again, or rinse another carton, but overall, we have a lot of positive memories,” Cox said.
For now, the milk carton masterpiece stands for all to see in — where else — the cafeteria.
“Which is kind of cool,” Cox said. “Because that’s where all the milk cartons started in the first place.”
Howard UMC hosts Thanksgiving meal
It’s like a warm-up for the big day.
The Howard United Methodist Church will hold its free community Thanksgiving meal 5-6:30 p.m. Saturday at the church’s Fellowship Hall on 144 W. Main St. in Howard.
In lieu of money, the church requests that guests bring a nonperishable item for the local food bank and maybe a friend or neighbor to share the celebration.