This winter looked a little different in downtown Anchorage than it normally does. With the Covid restrictions that were in place, sled dogs were not seen downtown taking off from Fourth Avenue for the start of the Fur Rendezvous or the Iditarod Ceremonial Start in March as they traditionally do. As a way to keep the sled dog spirit alive, seventeen artists created and displayed sled dog silhouettes in downtown businesses in a project called Sled Dogs Downtown. A scavenger hunt was hosted to find and visit all of the sled dogs which were later auctioned off to raise funds for the Anchorage Mushing District.
With the school year coming to an end, have the students reflect on the year by creating original artwork on the sled dog silhouettes to represent their year. What events, topics, projects, novels, etc. would they choose to display on their sled dog? What memories of the year would they want to remember the most? Originally, the plywood dogs were about 42 inches in length. Using butcher paper to create dogs of this size, students could work in partners or teams to create their dogs. Or, give each student a smaller version to work independently, and then create a whole team of dogs! Hold on to the artwork to display at the beginning of next year as a way to welcome your new students and help them get excited for the new year.
Special thanks to Tim Huettle, president of Anchorage Mushing District, who generously shared the silhouette of the sled dog shapes with us. Click here to access them. If you do this project, please share photos with us by sending them to email@example.com as Mr. Huettle would love to see how students and teachers interpreted the challenge.
- See a slideshow of all 17 original dogs here. One of the portions of the event was an online poll to choose the three favorite dogs. Which ones would your class have chosen?
- Iditarod’s announcement of the project here.
- If you would like the students to read about the project, check out this article from Alaska’s News Source
- Anchorage Mushing District Information here.