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Superior rocks with color

Third grader Nora Lepien covers a rock with a layer of yellow paint Feb. 5 in the art room of Northern Lights Elementary School. Students were tasked with turning 500 pounds of rocks into pieces of art for the upcoming #SuperiorRocks art scavenger hunt in Superior. Maria Lockwood

Young artists are leaving their mark on Superior, one rock at a time. Following in the steps of last year’s successful “Soupies” art scavenger hunt, Phantom Galleries Superior and Superior Public Art Creating Community Environment (SPACES) host a city-wide search for pet rocks.

Students at Northern Lights Elementary are combining 500 pounds of rock with latex paint and wiggly eyes to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Last week, Jess Brozic’s third grade class grabbed paint brushes, hair dryers and glue to add to the rock pile.

Neveah Peterson painted a pink pig while Ashlyn Christiansen turned a smooth gray stone into a turquoise ladybug with red and black spots.

“I’m just making a design,” said Gage Piar, adding mismatched eyes to his red and yellow rock.

Dylan Trader’s creature included two rows of dots around the edge, and Nora LePien created a yellow face with glasses and prominent teeth.

The kids knew their work would be turned into a rock hound’s treasure.

“So we can like hide them and people can, like, find them like, to keep them,” said Kierra Bunten as she worked on a striped red “cat” rock.

Some still got attached to their painted critters.

“It was hard for the kids to let them go,” said art teacher Kerri Gordon. “But we talked about how artists like doing things for their community and belonging, and how they’re helping our town.”

March is Youth Art Month. To celebrate last year, the Primordial Soup Gang, 31 ceramic creatures created by Jennifer A. Murphy, were sprinkled throughout Superior, with clues provided online.

“I found one of those fishy things; I found them, there was like green and blue and everything, I found one,” said third grader Devon Ziebell as he painted his rock. “It was by Catlin Courts.”

He brought the “soupie” home and it still holds a place of honor on his dresser. Organizers are hoping this year’s rock hunt will get a similar response.

“The #SuperiorRocks idea is to have happy, pop up, public art, designed by our up and coming youngest Superior artists,” said Alison Price, director of Superior Phantom Galleries. “Each hand-painted rock will come with a note, asking it be shared on all social media platforms with the hashtag, #SuperiorRocks, because it definitely does. The rocks will appear all over town. Hopefully, we inspire a trend.”

More information on #SuperiorRocks and other public art displays, such as the Wishing Tree which will be unveiled along Tower Avenue tonight, is available on the Superior Public Art – Spaces Facebook page.