School kids help family in need
Children are a third of our population, and all of our future. So it is no surprise that in the wake of Minot's worst flood, three children will assist a family of eight, through the joy and innocence of art.
Since 2007, Minot State University's arts and music festival, NOTSTOCK, has invited talented artists and eager attendees to participate in sharing their knowledge, love and passion of art through various media. The event has grown to include musicians, writers, publishers, lecturers, illustrators and ceramicists.
Through his Monster Engine art project, NOTSTOCK participant Dave DeVries possesses a rich history of recreating children's art. The Monster Engine asks: What would a child's drawing look like if it were painted realistically?
Combining talent and ingenuity, NOTSTOCK organizer Bill Harbort and DeVries developed a fundraiser to benefit a flood impacted family. The idea united MSU's beaver mascot and elementary art students' "monster beaver" or "beaver rebuilding Minot" drawings with DeVries' Monster Engine interpretations.
"The flood really saddened me; I felt for the unfortunate people who lost their homes," DeVries said. "Through The Monster Engine, I engage the children's talents and hopefully empower them; that inspired me to look to Minot's smallest citizens to benefit a family in need. I chose the beaver illustration as the focus because I wanted something relevant to Minot and the students."
Harbort received over 100 "beaver" submissions, and three were chosen to start the engine.
Mycah Garrett, a second grader, inspired DeVries' creation of the pen-and-ink "Beaver Rebuilding Minot" used as a silkscreen for T-shirts during NOTSTOCK 2011. DeVries said the backhoe and buildings were the details that drew him to Garrett's picture.
Garrett's grandparents evacuated during the flood and briefly lived with his family, so he is familiar with the destruction and reconstruction involved in the flood recovery.
"I know what a beaver is, because I saw one on ‘Wild Kratts' (on PBS)," Garrett explained when asked about the subject. "I love animals, especially dinosaurs and snakes."
DeVries' acrylic "Monster Beaver" is a culmination of two students' talents. Kindergartner Caz Buckles was pleased when told his monster beaver was chosen for the painting, although his shy demeanor overrode any exuberant outbursts. DeVries said it was the beaver's unusually large teeth that caught his attention.
"When I saw Caz' drawing, I had a visceral reaction to the teeth. The teacher had explained that beavers have large teeth, and Caz drew them larger than anybody," DeVries explained.
Recognizing the similarities between his and DeVries' art, the small, quiet six year old whispered to his mother, "It looks just like mine." Not one to mince words, his perma-grin said it all.
Second grader Randy Jundt had his block lettered "MINOT" featured on DeVries' painting.
"Randy's drawing inspired the way I painted," DeVries said. "MINOT reminded me of a city with big buildings, and his beaver towered over them."
When asked what he thought of DeVries' final version of his and Buckles' work, Jundt modestly replied, "It's good."
"Beaver Rebuilding Minot" and "Monster Beaver" originals will be available on eBay Nov. 2-12. All proceeds will benefit a flood-impacted family. For more information visit www.themonsterengine.com or contact Harbort at firstname.lastname@example.org.