Virginia Lee Burton would have loved Appleton’s annual elementary school winter art project.
Author of the cheerfully feminist Katy and the Big Snow and several other award winning children’s books, Burton celebrated art in all forms and founded Folly Cove, a group of internationally recognized artisans.
By asking elementary school children to decorate snow shovels, the City of Appleton also celebrates art and turns the grim countdown to winter into a whimsical lesson in optimism.
Have you ever lain in bed on a cold winter morning, heard the ominous scrape of metal snow plow on frozen cement, groaned and thought about burrowing back under the covers for the day?
This year, though, those snowplows can call us all back to our childhoods, when snow days meant sled rides, snow ball fights, snow forts, snowmen, and angels.
I remember a snow day several years ago, when we heard a knock on our family room window, pulled the curtain back, and saw our neighbor Gabe waving delightedly from his cross country skis.
In sleek silhouettes, Johnston Elementary captures winter’s athleticism and all of its doubly cool outdoor activities.
Houdini Elementary filled its shovel with the man with the most recognizable mane and wing span in Wisconsin, Clay Matthews. McKinley Elementary added a Badger element to its Packer tribute for its “We Love Wisco” themed shovel.
I’m feeling much more cheerful about the upcoming cold, dark days and the piles of snow it will bring. Like Katy and the Big Snow (a favorite children’s book of mine that no one seems to remember, what’s up with that?), the cheerful children-decorated shovels will show Appleton how to plow its way to a good mood this winter.
Just in time, too. The first snowflakes of the season should be falling by Friday.
Bring it on!
P.S. I liked all the plows, but you can vote for your favorite by commenting on this City of Appleton Facebook page.