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‘Rufus the Moofus’ a labor of love for students


Project CdA students from left Keli Burch, Lindsay Hess, Jessica Barker, Jessie Costin, Sheree Shore and Sarina VanEaton have invested many hours in the creation of the mosaic moose for the EXCEL foundation fund-raiser. They hope to buy it back during the upcoming auction. Missing from the photo is Tiffany Dalton. Project CdA students from left Keli Burch, Lindsay Hess, Jessica Barker, Jessie Costin, Sheree Shore and Sarina VanEaton have invested many hours in the creation of the mosaic moose for the EXCEL foundation fund-raiser. They hope to buy it back during the upcoming auction. Missing from the photo is Tiffany Dalton. 
 (Kathy Plonka/Kathy Plonka/ / The Spokesman-Review)
Project CdA students from left Keli Burch, Lindsay Hess, Jessica Barker, Jessie Costin, Sheree Shore and Sarina VanEaton have invested many hours in the creation of the mosaic moose for the EXCEL foundation fund-raiser. They hope to buy it back during the upcoming auction. Missing from the photo is Tiffany Dalton. Project CdA students from left Keli Burch, Lindsay Hess, Jessica Barker, Jessie Costin, Sheree Shore and Sarina VanEaton have invested many hours in the creation of the mosaic moose for the EXCEL foundation fund-raiser. They hope to buy it back during the upcoming auction. Missing from the photo is Tiffany Dalton. (Kathy Plonka/Kathy Plonka/ / The Spokesman-Review)

Ten creative students at the alternative school, Project Coeur d’Alene, are very proud of “Rufus the Moofus,” their creation for the “No Moose Left Behind,” project that will raise money for the EXCEL Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for grants in the Coeur d’Alene School District.

The public will have the opportunity to see the life-size moose this weekend, as they are unveiled and included in today’s Fred Murphy Day parade. Rufus is one of the 40 smaller, table-top or “maquette” moose that will be displayed in “herds” around the Coeur d’Alene School District.

The students spent more than 100 hours painstakingly creating this glass mosaic “moosterpiece.” The title of their piece is “Braving the Elements.” Rufus represents the Earth, water, the sun and moon. This is the first large-scale art project the school’s afternoon shift has done.

The students used mosaic glue to adhere hundreds of tiny pieces of glass to the body of the moose. The base is the Earth, with a river running through it. Rufus has tiny little stars for horseshoes on his two exposed feet. The sun starts at the top of his head and cascades down his body. The moon is on his nose along with a couple of stars.

The statue arrived at the school in March with just primer on it. It took the students a while to come up with a theme, but once they got started it became a labor of love. Christy Smith, who teaches speech, language arts and art, was the teacher who supervised the project.

“I’d say we had over a hundred hours into it,” Smith said. “This was very labor intensive.”

All 10 students became good friends during the process and learned to work as a team. They couldn’t wait to work on the moose every day.

Senior Keli Burch is thinking of pursuing a career in photography. She and junior Chelsea Gress came up with the design for Rufus.

Sophomore Lindsay Hess said she did a lot of the river rocks along the base.

“Pretty much, I helped get everybody motivated to work on the moose because everyone was slacking, and then I started working on it and everybody decided it was fun,” Hess said.

Sophomore Jessica Barker was one of the main people along with junior Jessie Costin, who just worked and worked on the project, according to Smith.

Costin was the only one who got cut by the glass other than Smith. Smith’s hands are still healing. Costin’s cut was on her head, but she’s fine.

“Christy definitely got the most,” Costin said of their teacher. “She cut herself almost every day.”

Junior Jason Moore was the only guy who worked on the moose.

“I’m meticulous, I’m the filler-inner,” Moore said.

Smith concurred that he is very detailed-oriented. Moore and Costin are not in the art class but were passionate about this project.

Sheree Shore, a junior did most of Rufus’s belly, and said surprisingly she didn’t get cut once. Sophomore Sarina VanEaton worked on the sun and the base. She wants to eventually become an art teacher. Senior Tiffany Dalton is thinking of going to the Seattle Art Institute in the fall. Freshman Jessica Piper rounded out Rufus’s creators.

Smith said the students are very melancholy about letting Rufus go, and they are determined to somehow buy him back. The students hope the school can bid on him, but if not they’ll start fund-raising even throughout the summer. Barker said she was sad to see him go. They only got to have him finished for one day, before Rufus was swept away. Rufus is on display at the Medicine Man Pharmacy in Hayden until June 21.

Barker and Hess took Rufus to the school board meeting May 3, to show him off to the administrators.

“They all loved it,” Smith said.

If you would like to help these aspiring young artists retain Rufus for Project Coeur d’Alene, contact the school at 667-7460.

Students place in contest

Two Coeur d’Alene students from Woodland Middle School, Aubree Dinning and Niko Salinas placed in the “Can You Find The Mapman?” contest, the results of which were published in the May 10 issue of Junior Scholastic, the leading social studies and current events magazine for middle-school students.

More than 10,000 students from all 50 states and Okinawa, Japan, entered the contest which challenges their map-reading skills from recognizing political boundaries and locating cities using latitude and longitude, to understanding time zones and measuring distances with a scale of miles or kilometers. The grand-prize winner and runners-up were selected based on their maps’ cartographic accuracy and creativity, including design and color treatment.

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