Students create massive art projects at Powell High School

Can you imagine a school with a submarine, space shuttle, dragon, and unicorns?  All of that, plus wolves, bears, and lions line the halls of Powell High School in Northwest Wyoming.

The models are built to scale. Some are only 1/8 the size of the real thing.

But they are not small. A German submarine that hangs from the ceiling is 35 feet long. The dragon above the Viking ship is mighty, and the antique train runs on a track through the Rockies.

The taxidermied mounts include bears, wolves, and lions, from the wild lands of Northwest Wyoming that are not too far from Powell High School, where the art projects are not just paintings on the wall.

All of the mounts and models are the work of students, led by art teacher Jim Gilman.

He says he is “someone who’s trying to have fun with what we’re doing.”

Mission accomplished. But, creations like the unicorns are a point of Panther pride, too.

Student Artist  Bayli Voss explained, “I’m very proud of this. I think it turned out really nice. I see visitors, like new students especially. They see all of our projects and they just look amazed at what we have done.”

Brianna Simmons said, “It gives me a lot of pride knowing that people can appreciate this as much as I and everyone else who worked on this does.”

The train was a big team effort.

Hannah Saville said of her work, “The smoke looks pretty cool, I’d say. It was very scary doing that, though, because I was standing on my tippy toes on this lift type of thing. It was kind of scary, and I’m terrified of heights.”

And, the models are teaching tools for more than art. The students have to learn and apply math, science.

Art student Preston Quarles explained, “I helped do the wheels and getting the wheels moving on the train.”

Gilman said the students come up with the ideas for the models. Then they have to figure out how to make them.

He elaborated, “We don’t know how to get there. None of us do. There’s no answers. You gotta brainstorm with all the kids. You gotta decide how’s this gonna work? There’s no plans. There’s no this is how you build a helicopter. This is how you build a space shuttle.”

That’s right, Gilman said helicopter: a Blackhawk. It is the next Panther art project. It’s under construction now. Gilman said the school gets donations, tools, and practical suggestions from people around the world who follow the projects online.

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