Open season on art Students create scavenger hunt for public

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This is one of the pieces that will be included in Central’s community-wide art scavenger hunt.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

Central art educator Cathy Recker has re-purposed a past event into a learning opportunity for her students that has a unique community component attached to it.

Many years ago, Recker participated in a scavenger hunt at an art museum. The event stayed with her and last fall, she started thinking about a similar experience in Elkader.

“I’m very keen on both getting my student work seen outside the school and creating business partnerships,” she said. “I pitched the idea (of a scavenger hunt) to my administrators and they loved it! The Elkader community has a strong interest in hunting, so I played off that for the theme ‘Elkader Art Hunt,’”

Hunting season is May 8 through May 19. For more on the project and how the community can participate, read on.

How are my students involved?

My 5th and 6th graders are the artists. They have all made a Picasso-style drawings and these drawings will be the target of the “hunt.”

The 5th and 6th graders are also going around town with Mrs. Gibney and Kate Lower to recruit business participation for the display of the drawings. Presenting their artwork on such a public level is a pretty big deal!

My students were highly engaged in the classroom version of this, so I think their energy will serve as a great force in promoting this event. I expect many of the student artists will enjoy “hunting” for their own work, and their families will enjoy sharing in this experience with them. But it certainly isn’t just for the 5th and 6th graders.  Anyone with a smart phone can play!

Why Picasso-style art?

The Picasso drawings reflect the art standards that drive my curriculum. Learning about famous artists and understanding their choices, is part of what my students are learning in art class. The creating process was very involved for this project. It included an exploration of many drawing and painting styles and techniques. They worked on all these individual pieces, and in the end, they had to make decisions about how to assemble them into a portrait image. The creativity is very evident! I encouraged them to find their own original solution.

What are your goals for the students?

I want my students to create art that results in conversations. I want the art to engage the viewer!

How can members of the community participate?

Hunting season opens Thursday, May 9th at 5 p.m., and closes at the end of business hours Saturday, May 18th. To participate in the hunt, send an email titled “Art Hunt” and your full name to A link for the app will be emailed back to you before “open season” begins.

Playing is easy! The art hunt involves scoping out local businesses to find Picasso drawings, scan the QR codes attached to every Picasso drawing, and submit all of your code find to the email address by the submission deadline (6 pm Sunday, May 19th).

How is the business community involved?

The collaboration with the businesses is key to this event!  Business owners received a letter seeking their involvement. They’re involved by displaying the art in their place of business. A letter was provided with background and the project as well as instructions for participating in it. Drawings can be in plain sight or less obvious places. There’s a device on the back of each piee of art to enable hanging it. Businesses receive flyers to post on their doors or in their windows.
What do I hope people learn from participating?

Hopefully people learn an appreciation for the cubist and contorted style of Picasso. There is value in learning how to draw realistically, but the “not normal” way can be so much more interesting! This is a value I hope extends beyond the art room-an appreciation for things that are different, unusual, and unexpected.

Anything else you’d like to add?

This is an opportunity to support the artistic efforts of our Central students. This is also an occasion to get new people in the door of your establishment. And most importantly, this is just good clean fun!

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