Snow Dragon Comes to Life!


By Jen Vanora, MFA in Art Education, Art Teacher

The Specials team (Art, Music and Gym Staff) at May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph, Mass. was clearing snow to create some extra walking space for the student drop off area, and started joking about building something really big with so much snow.

 Then the idea just took off.  
There was already a very long pile of snow that had been plowed together outside the school entrance, and as we looked at it, we could imagine it turning into a dragon. It had an area that stuck out that could be turned into a head, a long curving body, and maybe even a tail.
It took most of the day to shape our snow dragon (it was a day that we were open for a delayed start, and there were very few students). I did the prep with the shovel and Erik, our music teacher, helped. 
For the rest of the week, students came out in small groups to color the snow dragon, using watercolors and food coloring in spray bottles. It was helpful that it kept snowing more on top of the dragon so we could make layers of color, and it was fun to be outside with the kids day after day. 
The kids were excited to have a project that was so different, and it was nice to cheer up the parking lot since the snow has made transportation so challenging. 
We took a variety of photos as the dragon became more and more colorful, and are sharing them with all the classrooms. You can see some of these photos on May Institute’s Flickr page.
The making of our snow dragon was a wonderful art project because it was a group collaborative that involved a lot of craftsmanship. Working together, our staff and students used experimental media and color mixing to create a very textural and illustrative work of art.
In addition, our snow dragon is an excellent illustration that so much of art is about the creative process and experience. While we all love to look at something when it is finished, it is our experiences of creating that help us learn and grow.
We would like to send a big “thank you” to the Randolph school’s Executive Director Cheryl White for supporting such an unexpected project. She said it was OK because it was a project that all of the students could share.
See the story in the Patriot Ledger here, and Wicked Local Randolph's coverage.