Whitwell students put creative thinking into giant art project - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Whitwell students put creative thinking into giant art project

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WHITWELL, TN (WRCB) -- Students at Whitwell Elementary School spent their Monday working on a giant mural art project, all in efforts to keep a love for the arts alive. Through a grant program, Whitwell Elementary had a traveling foundry come to the school.

Students are working together to create a mural out of metal castings. The school's principal says it's important for students to take part in unique experiences like this one. "The furnace will get around 3,000 degrees," says Gerard Masse with 'Sculpture Trails.'

Masse and his team fire up their mobile furnace at Whitwell Elementary School, filling it with alloy and scrap metal. "Sculpture takes a lot of hours, a lot of time, a lot effort. So when your done, you know that thing's going to last forever," says Masse.

"I saw flames," proclaims one student.

"It stinks," says another one.

Masse and his team are with Sculpture Trails out of Indiana. They travel from school to school, encouraging students to be creative through art.

"I watched them get like a basket thingy and they poured it in those things," says 4th grader Corey Locklair.

"I made one and it's got two dolphins in it, in the water, playing," says 4th grader Chellan Cantrell.

Students carved sand molds, drawing their favorite creature in the ocean. Once the cast cools, it's sanded and polished. The individual tiles will then be drilled onto the wall and make up a mural.

Three years ago the school put together a space-themed mural, 'Shooting for the Stars.'

"In 50 years these kids can come back and look on the outside of our building and say, 'Hey, son, this is what I did when I was in third grade,'" says Principal David Smith.

Smith says he hopes the hands-on creation will inspire his students. "In schools today, art is one of the first things that is cut out of the schools, which is unfortunate, because some kids really have a bend towards the arts," he says.

"That's one of my favorite things, is coming to elementary schools and seeing the kids light up. And they get to see a real, something being made, hands-on being made, right in front of them," says Masse.

This particular mural will be made up of about 130 tiles. Students hope to start painting it on Tuesday.

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