By Jenny Neyman
The general election is over, and with it the deluge of campaign fliers that inundated mailboxes, taxing the capacity of Alaska voters’ patience and garbage bins.
Most of those flyers found their way to the landfill, but in Nikiski, many found a new purpose as a way to make a different political statement.
“I was getting so many of these in the mail and I figured everybody else was, too, so I had my classes start collecting fliers, and the teachers were pretty happy to bring in fliers, so we just started collecting them in a bin,” said Anna Widman, art teacher at Nikiski Middle-High School.
It seemed a waste to let all that paper go to waste — killing trees, and all. So she challenged each of her classes to make a tree branch and leaves out of the flyers. Two of her students, seniors Sadie Averill and Heidi Kaser, took it upon themselves to turn all the branches into trees.
There was no difficulty finding materials.
“I had one family give me 100 fliers because they have four adults in their household, so every one of them were getting their allotment,” Widman said. “And a lot of teachers brought in whatever they got at their house, which was quite substantial, as well.”
She told her students that whichever class brought in the most flyers would win a pizza party. Her second-hour class took the prize, thanks in large part to Melissa Roza’s large contribution — 1,000 flyers or more, Widman said.
“We’ve still got more that haven’t been used in the trees,” Widman said. “It wasn’t hard to collect fliers at all.”
The challenge — artistically as it was logistically for voters at their mailboxes — was what to do with them.
“We had to figure out how to get the base stable enough and also where to add stuff to it, because it leaned. Once we started adding stuff we had to figure out how to find the balance of it,” Kaser said.