By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
WEST PORTSMOUTH — It’s said that if you give enough monkeys typewriters, eventually they would write the works of William Shakespeare. Probably not — but apparently if you give enough bottle caps to students at West Elementary, they can recreate a classic Vincent van Gogh.
Elementary students at West, grades K-4, have convincingly recreated the post-impressionist Dutch artist’s 1889 oil painting “Starry Night” using some of the 10,000 donated bottle caps.
“They were donated by community members, parents, kids, and we saved them at lunch time. It took us like a month to save enough, and then they all had to be washed and dried, and the kids did all of that,” said West Elementary Art Teacher Kim Platzer.
The caps were sorted and fastened to two large pieces of board to create one 8-foot by 8-foot piece of art. Students voted on what type of artwork they wanted to create; their choices were a flower, a butterfly or the van Gogh painting.
“It took us two weeks to do it. We started gluing it down, but when they dried they started popping off. So we had to screw every one down, and I had to buy 10,000 screws and the kids actually used the power tools and loved it,” Platzer said.
There were still about 3,000 unused caps left over when the students had finished. They were donated to a Bible School program.
“Our goal was to have it finished by Earth Day (April 20) because we were doing all that recycling. We said we were saving the Earth one bottle cap at a time. It didn’t take as long as we thought,” she said.
The project is on display now at West Elementary School, and will be on display at the Boneyfiddle Arts Center in Portsmouth for about a month beginning later this week. After that, Platzer said they aren’t sure where it will go.
“We’ve been talking to Jenny Richards at the Forestry Department, and she would really like to have it at the lodge on permanent display. We also talked about maybe donating it to the children’s wing at the hospital. We really don’t know yet,” she said.
More photos of the artwork can be found online at www.west.k12.oh.us/elemschool/Academics/Art/elemart4starrynight.htm.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.