Alicia English challenged her art students with a project-based learning assignment – to create a sculpture based on the natural habitat in Raider Park, the history of the land and its relation to the Tom Pfeifle Trails. The outcome was a compelling experience for those involved.
Alicia English, Stevens Art Teachers, says, “I feel like watching Tom’s parents come through when they were presenting really took it to home and took it to heart what this meant to them. He’s (Tom ) been gone 3 years and these are teachers that taught him and knew him and there was that really big personal connection to it.” ”
The artists describe their creations and inspiration.
Abigail Sampson, 3rd place winner with “Thunderbird,” says, “I just wanted something that would represent protection and just something that would like represent grace in general and that was just a bird. And I just wanted to inherit some of the Native American culture, so I decided to do a Thunderbird which represents strength and protection over others.”
Hanna Landguth, 2nd place winner with “Mother Nature’s Heart,” says, “I have a human heart held by hands – the meaning behind it, I wanted to do something that inspired other people, like Tom Pfeifle how he … recycled a lot and very outdoorsy. And so I wanted to focus more on the aspect of how he gave more than he got in return maybe and so the heart is to represent how he gave to Mother Nature and so that’s why I named it Mother Nature’s heart.”
Jaden Matkins, 1st place winner with “Lake Pfeifle,” says, “I was thinking of cool water features around the Black Hills and Sylvan Lake really stuck out to me and then like Harney Peak is right next to it and then I thought that included a lot of the things that Tom liked to do. You could like run, hike, you can paddleboard … and so I thought like that would be a good way to represent what he loved and it’s a really peaceful scene there.”
Halle Karna, winner of the “Tom Pfeifle Award,” says, “I thought maybe if I did something closer to the heart of the family. He’s (the sculpture) hollow because it the feeling of a parent after losing a child or a loved one and then there is a quote that I really did like and it was, ‘for those going through this now, there is hope on the other side – keep moving forward, keep pushing’.”
The advanced clay students will sculpt later-scale version the 3 winners and placed in Raider Park this spring.