Hundreds Of Retired Skis Donated To Northport School Art Department

Think of it as HGTV’s Flea Market Flip meeting the Michigan ArtPrize. The Homestead donated almost 200 sets of skis to the Northport Public Schools K-12 art department last week. Here, art teacher Jen Evans explains how students and professional local artists plan to turn those skis into wonderful works of art and decorate the town of Northport in winter 2018.

Northport Public School students taking delivering of “retired” resort skis.

Now that the winter ski season at The Homestead is officially over, the resort’s Dan Hawkins suddenly had a problem: What to do with over 100 sets of skis that had reached their expiration date? To make room for new rental skis next year, you have to get rid of the old ones when they become unusable on the slopes.

“But I didn’t want to just discard them,” says Hawkins. “Then [one day] I walked by the ‘shoe tree’ in Glen Arbor and wondered if there might be a positive use for all our old skis—a possible art project for innovative artists or students in the community.”

Hawkins put out the word through a contact at the Glen Arbor Arts Association, and that’s when Jen Evans called. Evans is an art teacher for the 165 students at the Northport’s K-12 public school, and she had an idea.

Northport’s Mini ArtPrize 

Inspired by the success of Northport’s “Trashion Fashion” show (click here to read more)—an annual event where students and community members display repurposed clothing outfits in a fun, fashion show-like competition—Evan’s had a great idea for another themed contest using all those old skis.

“I was beyond excited,” says Evans. “Right away I had an idea to use the skis in another themed art competition—something like a miniature ArtPrize—where professional artists and students could repurpose the skis into magnificent works of art that we could hang in area businesses and throughout the town.”

Evans envisions the competition happening in 2018, as part of Northport Public Schools regular “community art class.”

“Community art class is about getting the community into the art room and students out into the community,” she says. “We invite local and professional artists from Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties into the classroom to work with our 6th through 12th grade students. The artists then work with the students on their art projects and then the students help organize the event with local businesses in the town.”

For next year’s ski-themed art project, Evans pictures a town-wide competition that celebrates winter sports and the outdoors. The Homestead plans to work with Evans on linking the project with actual skiing; for example, “ski-free” days for participating students as well as prizes for winners of the competition.

“I picture lanterns lining the main street of Northport. Skis jammed in the snow banks in front of business—maybe a groomed cross-country ski trail through town or a ski race through town. The works of art would be displayed outside throughout town in inside area business, and the public would be encourage to walk around and cast their vote on the winner.”

Stay tuned for future updates as this ski-themed art project takes shape in 2017.