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First Night to host first ever Iron Clad Art Competition

First Night to host first ever Iron...

SPOKANE, Wash. - First Night is Spokane's big New Year's Eve party, the city's biggest visual and performing arts festival and always a hot ticket on New Year's Eve with fun for the whole family. Now in it's 17th  year, they've added a new competition for high school students who participate in shop classes. It's called the “Iron Clad Art Competition.”

The competition is a way for high school students to turn their passions for wood and metal into a life long career as the event seeks to connect those students with potential employers in the skilled trade industry that is in need of young, talented craftsmen.

While most high school students are making plans for winter break, juniors and seniors at NEWTECH are working against the clock to finish pieces for the Iron Clad Art Competition.

Senior Garren Koller is busy with two entries. One is a 3D, geometric painting.

“This is just a wall mount. So I put some little brackets on the back and it will just go on to the wall like that,” he said of his other project.

Down the hall in his welding class, Alec Snyder is working with his classmates on a 3D squid made entirely of metal.

“We want to do something that is, something you wouldn't expect to see. Something that would be a little harder to do and challenge ourselves. So we came up with the squid,” explained Snyder.

They'll be competing against students from other Spokane-area shop classes for some great prizes, including a scholarship to welding school and the chance to meet with future employers. To Garren, none of that matters; art is his passion.

“I just like to think outside the box and create something that maybe no one has created before," said Garren.

For Alec, it's a more than the accolades. Before starting at NEWTECH, he had no idea what he wanted to do in life.

“Oh I love it. I found my passion, actually,” he said of welding.

Now, he's ahead of his class with a welding certification and job opportunity come graduation.

He's competing to win money and tools of the trade for the classroom that has given him so much.

"We are always short on funds," said Alec. "We've run out of gas or we've run out of metal or something like that. So it's not about the scholarship or the hoods or anything like that, its actually to get the money for our shop.”

For information on the Iron Clan Art Competition and other events at First Night, visit firstnightspokane.org.

You can purchase buttons for entry to all First Night events. Each is $15.