VANS Custom Culture


Every year the VANS Shoe Company enlists the brightest and bravest young minds to create a better shoe design. They know without creative designers their business will not do as well.

South Ridge sculpture students took on the 2015 VANS Custom Culture shoe design contest with gusto! Pictured above see the shoes created by (left to right) Kaitlyn W.- Local Flavor, Kaleb L. and Clint E. – Active Sports, Kyrah W. – Art and Julia P. and Emily W. – Music.

Even though we were not chosen to go on we are proud of the work completed! Amazing work South Ridge art students!!

HS Art Trip – Feb 20

companymedAll 9th-12th Grade Art students are encouraged to attend this annual trip to the Twin Cities to attend a number of art events and exhibitions. The day will begin with the Ordway Theatre show – “Camille Brown Dance Company”. Combining history and musicology with the fantastical approach of imagery this work sheds light on the grand narrative and dialogs about feminism, patriarchy, and how women negotiate themselves within this world.

We also are talking with the University of Minnesota Design School, Cordon Bleu Cooking School, Institute of Performance and Recording School (IPR) and Aveda. Depending on what is showing we will visit either the Weismann Museum, University of MN and/or the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The day will come to an end with Frank Theatre‘s production of “Love and Information” In the newest work by one of the most inventive playwrights of our time, Caryl Churchill creates a theatrical kaleidoscope that explores the rapidly changing world we live in.

If interested please see Ms. Olson for more information.

Media Art Creates “Chalk Talk” images after Wing Young Huie

IMG_8886web-1024x574new-(1)Media Art students pair with someone they might not know too well and engage each other by asking a series of open-ended questions. Then they choose only one of the answers from each person, which that person then writes down on black construction paper with white chalk. This intimate and non-confrontational interaction addresses issues of bias, challenging preconceptions of the other and one’s self. How would you answer these questions?

  • What are you?
  • How do you think others see you? What don’t they see?
  • What advice would you give to a stranger?
  • What is your favorite word?
  • Describe an incident that changed you.
  • How have you been affected by race?

Finch Robot

BirdBrain1010-0012The Finch is a new robot for computer science education. Its design is the result of a four year study at Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab. South Ridge art students are being given opportunity to work with the Finch Sept 8-10 through a loan program with Code Savvy in the Twin Cities.

Finch is a versatile, rugged little robot created at Carnegie Mellon for use in schools, and manufactured by Bird Brain Technologies.   You can program the Finch to move around, play notes, talk, change color and sense obstacles, orientation, temperature and more.  Most of you will want to program it in the easy-to-use languages of Scratch or Snap (an advanced version of Scratch) but there are other languages that work, including Javascipt and Python.

The Finch was designed to allow students to write richly interactive programs. On-board features include:

  • Light, temperature, and obstacle sensors
  • Accelerometers
  • Motors
  • Buzzer
  • Full-color beak LED
  • Pen mount for drawing capability
  • Plugs into USB port – no batteries required

The Finch is manufactured under license from Carnegie Mellon University. They are being loaned to Code Savvy by Bird Brain Technologies, the developer and manufacturer of these robots.

Roth Mobot

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South Ridge art student and interested community members met with artists Patrick McCarthy and Tommy Stephenson of Roth Mobot in late April to create experimental electronic musical instruments. Most had never had opportunity to work with battery operated electronics and benefitted from the opportunity. Participating in a new and evolving art form is exciting. Circuit-benders and experimental electronic art is still being defined by practitioners, artists and the audience.

All art classes created an optical theremin. Prove Gallery folks circuit bent toys. South Ridge students were invited to come to Prove and make electronic circuit bent toys as well. Public performances were held Friday night at South Ridge  and Saturday night at Prove Gallery.All was free of charge.

Vimeo documentary 


This activity is funded in part by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008 and by Minnesota Power Foundation

Lettin’ Off STEAM with Frank Theatre

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The third and culminating performance with Frank Theatre teaching artists Wendy Knox and Emily Zimmer was February 26th in the South Ridge School forum. Students had been working for six weeks on storytelling activities, theatre games, building on writing skills and dissecting a story to find meaning – all of which aided them in the re-telling of The Pied Piper retold by the 3rd-4th grades, Three Strong Women retold by the afterschoolSTEAM students, 3rd-4th Grades,  Anansi Searches for a Fool, Grade 7 Design and Anansi Plays Dead Grade 7 Design students.

Original music was performed by students as well which was composed by Twin Cities musician and educator Marya Hart. Lyrics were written by the students during a writing activity.

In the story of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” The town of Hamelin was full of rats and were unable to do anything. Even the cats were not able to kill the rats. One day, a fellow  came to town called the Pied Piper. He went to the Mayor and asked him, “What will you pay me if I free your town of every single rat?” The mayor offered 10,000 coins. Happy with the offer, the Pied Piper started playing his pipe. Hearing the shrill, keen note, every rat came out from its hole and started following him into the water and waited till every rat had drowned.

Now the town was free. After all the rats were dead, the Pied Piper returned and asked the Mayor for his money. The Mayor said that he could only give him twenty pounds for such an easy job. Pied Piper wanted to teach him a lesson. This time he played a different tune. Hearing his music, the children came out of their houses as the Pied Piper led the children far, far away. The Mayor sent his men to look for the piper and bring the children back but none could find the lost children.

In the story of the “Three Strong Women” tells of Forever-Mountain is a famous wrestler, smug and rather conceited–until he meets Maru-me. Along with her mother and grandmother, she shows him what real strength is. Under their tutelage, he gains not only physical prowess, but the humility of the truly strong. This version of the Japanese tall tale is filled with sly humor and witty exaggeration. The lesson of kindness being stronger than hate.

In the story “Anansi Searches for a Fool” the lazy Anansi, the famed West African trickster figure, decides to go fishing, he looks around for a fool he can convince to do all the work. Imagine his surprise when hawk, also known for his cleverness, offers to accompany him. Anansi continues to trick his other friends and family until they have had enough and run him out of town. This Ashanti folktale, which illustrates the point that “When you dig a hole for someone else, you will fall into it yourself,” is a humorous story of a trickster being caught in his own trap.

In the story, “Anansi Plays Dead”, There was a famine in the land and Anansi thinks about only himself. He began to plot out how he could have the best crops for himself. Usually West Africans always give the richest part of the animal to the “leader” or father of the house. Its kinda like the social class but modified/conformed to family ranked. So he tricks his family into thinking he is dead and they bury him in the richest part of the garde. Every night he sneaks out and eats until full. Eventually he is found out by his family and he feels so embarrassed. “From that day until now, Anansi has not wanted to face people because of their scoffing, jeering, and that is why he is often found hiding in dark corners.” When you have committed a crime in the town you are held to be very shameful. West African usually disowns people that they put to shame.

Background to the trickster Anansi/In west africa, a spider name Anansi wanted to be the owner of all the stories known in the world but the sky god names Nyame was the owner. Anansi asked Nyame can he buy them from him but Nyame told him that the price was too high. The price was 3 things and if Anansi were to complete them then he would be the owner of all the stories. Nyame needed to have hornets(Mmoboro), the great python(Onini), and the leopard (Osebo). Anasi didnt have any problems with capturing these 3 things because he tricked all of them.He made them all believe that he was helping out when he really wasn’t. When he had them in his ownership he called them foolish for falling for his trick. Nyame pronounced Anansi the owner of all stories and any man who told a story would have to acknowledge him. 

Considerable effort was made by South Ridge teachers, district office administration and Frank Theatre teaching artists to provide this opportunity. By the Minnesota State Arts Board approving this Art’s Learning grant South Ridge was provided the opportunity.

The Minnesota State Arts Board is a state agency that stimulates and encourages the creation, performance, and appreciation of the arts in the state. The Arts Learning grant program offers funding for projects that help lifelong learners acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage learners with skilled teaching artists and high quality artistic experiences. Arts and culture are central to Minnesota’s educational system and lifelong learning opportunities. The arts develop creative minds that maximize new opportunities and find solutions to life’s challenges. In Minnesota, the arts industry is an integral part of the economy. Because of the arts, Minnesota communities are successful, dynamic, attractive places to live and work.

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.