by Becky GINOS
LAYTON—Parent teacher conferences can be stressful enough, but imagine having a bat swoop down on you. That’s what Layton High has been dealing with for years so one art teacher decided to embrace it in a humorous and artist way.
“Bats have been a part of Layton High for a long time but this year was the worst,” said art teacher Chad Crane. “It became a big joke and art is often like comedy, it responds to what’s going on now. I was sitting at parent teacher conference and bats were diving down while janitors rushed around trying to get them out. So I wrote a poem about it.”
Crane said he decided to have the students reinvent the bat. “We cut out over 100 bats and put them in the display case,” he said. “We created a sort of shrine to honor the bats.”
After he started writing about the bats, he thought it would be fun to have his art students create a Bat Book. “The poems are more of a metaphor of the highs and lows of teaching,” said Crane. “The apathy and excitement of students but a way to discuss what’s going on. It provided a voice. The book has multiple-choice poems that are meant to show the absurdity that we continue to test that way. It’s all in there in a subtle way. We’re really talking about lots of stuff at the school.”
They took photos of the bat groupings from the cutouts and they became the illustrations for the book, said Crane. “I had some students who made specific artwork connected to the poems. We put the book together and wondered, ‘how do we promote this?’” he said. “We decided to turn it into a scholarship. It’s not really my book so we could sell it as a way to celebrate moments like a bat infestation, be inspired by it and turn it into artwork.”
The book sells for $10 with all the proceeds going to the scholarship. “We have six candidates for the bat scholarship,” said Crane. “It’s for someone who is planning to go on to study visual arts at the next level.”
Crane made a promotional video that he sent out to all the parents. “We’ve sold over 100,” he said. “We knew we couldn’t charge a ton and have people still buy it. I’m looking for businesses to help us.”
Poetry is a different sell, he said. “It’s not a popular art form anymore. I don’t know if everybody knows what to make of it. The book is unique but it represents us.”
The bat shrine was very popular and the students got really into it, said Crane. “One student purchased 10 copies of the book and someone from England paid $100. It’s not for everyone, but we all lived through this and experienced it. My students are excited so I told them to bring their passion and share it.”
The Bat Books are available at Layton High School or one can be mailed out for $15 by calling the front office.