by Lindsay Ducharme
On March 14th students from all four local high schools gathered together to create sculptures composed of recycled oil sands scrap material for Suncor Energy’s Schools Sculptures. The students worked with “world-class” metal and sculpture artists Randy Ringheim, Vincent Bonisoli, Caitlin Bodewitz and Ruth Perry. Material provided included old machinery, pieces of shovels and other equipment.
“In our long history of sponsoring the arts, we thought why not create a unique way to use our scrap material that would either be going to the landfill or be recycled and turn it into art,” explained Tyran Ault, team lead, tours and events, Suncor Energy.
Being the first event of its kind, Ault said event organizers were impressed by not only the number of participants, but also the impact the event had on the students.
“It was interesting because we had arts students who had never picked up a power tool in their life helping out with the grinding and welding and then the welding students were talking about depth perception, so they were learning art at the same time the arts students were learning little bit about welding. Overall it was an educational experience for all of the students, in addition to them creating some great stuff that everyone in the community is going to get to enjoy.”
“We had about two dozen students participating today. It exceeded expectations. Initially we had students sticking with other students from their own school but by the end of it you were seeing students from different schools working together and partnering up. It was really cool to see collaborating among the students and to see them taking the initiative on their own,” Ault added.
In addition to benefitting the students, the event will soon also benefit the community as a whole when the artwork created will be put on display throughout the region. Ault said each community partner involved in the event – Suncor, the Municipality, along with both the public and Catholic school boards – will receive a sculpture. Each organization will decide shortly where to display them.
“This was an extremely positive experience. We’ve got four to five sculptures being made, depending on two possibly blending two into one. We’ve got a big giant tree, a dinosaur, a cityscape and a funky thing with some moons and things. It was better than expected for sure, “Ault said.
“We have done other partnerships with the high schools in terms of art in the past. We have an art gallery at the Suncor Business Centre with student art, but judging by the success of the project this weekend, if I’m a betting man I would say we would see this event again.”