Steamboat Springs Soda Creek Elementary School fifth-grader Mathew Procyzyn started his art project with a balloon and some papier-mÃ•che, but he finished with a creation that goes far beyond the bounds of an ordinary piÃ±ata.
Mathew's hot-air balloon piÃ±ata, on display Monday night with 400 other pieces of art at Soda Creek's Annual Art Show, is several structures in one.
Beneath the colorful balloon is an intricate basket for passengers, complete with miniature champagne bottles ready to be popped open if the balloon "lands."
Beneath the basket, things get really interesting.
"He was just about ready to stop, and then his creative juices got flowing," Soda Creek art teacher Susanmarie Oddo said as she set up the art show in the school's library before spring break.
"It shows how you can take ordinary stuff and make it extraordinary."
Beneath the basket is a large, handcrafted structure that appears to be a cafe with a table and chairs, open floor space and colorful decorations.
Although Oddo isn't quite sure what the structure is, she praised the support Mathew got from classmates while creating it.
"The kids really inspire each other," she said. "They feed off each other's ideas."
Fifth-graders shared a great deal of inspiration -- other piÃ±atas include an elephant, a moose, a penguin, Gonzo the Muppet and Nickelodeon character SpongeBob Square--Pants.
More than 340 students in first through fifth grades will have work on display in the art show.
Each grade had a different project.
First-graders made butterflies out of clay and pipe cleaners. Oddo hung the projects in a makeshift "Butterfly Pavilion" in the school's library.
"First-graders love little, confined spaces," she said. "This (pavilion) will be like a separate world to them."
Second-graders also used clay. They created an array of tiny, bright aliens.
"The names for their aliens are just as creative as the artwork," Oddo said.
Second-grader Kane Park's alien is named "Zimbuly." Camden Berka's is named "Thunder Strike."
As part of a unit on the Chinese New Year, Oddo's third-graders made dragons.
Fourth-graders drew optical illusions: 3-dimensional designs on 2-dimensional sheets of paper.
"I gave them box stencils, then told them to think outside the box," Oddo said. "Every year, they come up with something I've never seen before."
Oddo has taught art at Soda Creek for three years. This is her 10th year teaching.
"I want this art show to be extra special -- it marks a decade for me," Oddo said.
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What: Annual Soda Creek Elementary School Art Show, featuring art by more than 340 students and jazz performed by local teenagers When: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday night Where: Soda Creek Elementary School media center, 220 Park Ave.