Vandalia students paint two snowplows for city

The snowplows will be used on city streets this winter.

VANDALIA — Residents here may see a yeti or a snowman rolling down their street this winter on a city snow plow.

Vandalia-Butler High School art students painted two of the city’s snow plows. Tara Landis, art teacher for the high school, designed the paintings, which are themed around a yeti and a snow day.

She stenciled the paintings onto the curved surface of the snow plow before the art students, mostly juniors and seniors, began the process of priming and painting an enamel-based paint onto the snow plow.

Landis said city manager Dan Wendt approached her to do the project after seeing it done in other cities.

“We originally were only going to do one, but then they ended up bringing two,” Landis said. “So we were like, well, let’s try this out.”

The city paid about $300 for the paint and brushes the district used for the designs on the snowplow, said Rich Hopkins, Vandalia communications manager.

The plows sat in the school’s parking lot while the designs were completed, Landis said, and the students had to paint almost sitting inside of the curve of the plow.

Landis said the students had a hard time painting at first because the surface is metal and curved, something the students hadn’t worked on before. Landis said she stenciled the design onto the plow, which made it easier for the students to work on.

The designs are intentionally simple, Landis said, to make it easier to touch up the designs when they inevitably get scratched while the plows work.

But the painted plows are a sign of the partnership between the city and the school district, Hopkins said. But it’s also just fun – something Wendt, the city manager, values. The city and schools hope they can continue the project on other city snow plows.

“If you spend time with Dan, you’ll understand that in the course of doing everything that needs to be done to run a city, that there’s a chance to have fun with something, he’s willing to do that,” Hopkins said.

Landis and Hopkins said they hope the younger students who see the snow plows will be interested in painting a similar mural in the future.

“I think it’ll motivate other kids or other kids would be like, oh, I want to get involved in that, that would be fun, or I have a good idea for that,” Landis said.

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