January 10, 2018

Spartan Mugs Project Takes Orders, Builds Partnerships

The Spartan Mugs Project is officially underway with its first major order delivered last month – 21 mugs for Northern Hills Elementary School in Onalaska.  The Spartan Mugs Project (SMP) was created last year as a Sparta High School Art Club fundraiser.  As the project gains momentum, students are discovering that being a part of the SMP has many more benefits than just raising funds.

Mrs. Russ's custom Northern Hills mug

Mrs. Russ’s custom Northern Hills mug

The Spartan Mugs Project initially connected with Northern Hills Elementary through an order for a single mug.  SHS Principal Sam Russ commissioned the Art Club SMP to create a custom mug for his wife, Northern Hills Principal Amy Russ.  NH Special Education Teacher Emily Perry noticed Mrs. Russ’s one of a kind Northern Hills mug, and the two of them had the idea to purchase more custom Northern Hills mugs to offer teachers as part of Northern Hills’ “Brew for You” coffee program.  They contacted the Sparta Art Club to place the order and the partnership was born.

Northern Hills’ Brew for You and the Spartan Mugs Project are a fitting pair.  Both programs fundraise while providing students with life and work skills.   The Brew for You coffee program helps teach students with disabilities personal interaction skills, money skills, and workplace norms through selling coffee to teachers and staff.  The Spartan Mugs Project teaches high school students about higher level throwing on the potter’s wheel, silk-screening glaze, industry standards in ceramics, mass production, and the importance of quality control.

Brew for You and Spartan Mugs Project meet up

The programs met up on December 20th, with eleven students from Northern Hills joining students and staff at Sparta.  The day started with a mug silk-screening demonstration.  After the demonstration, students and staff worked together to make an ugly sweater project. Then students ate lunch in the cafeteria and finished up the day with some gingerbread building.  It was a great experience for everyone involved.

More big orders are rolling in for the Spartan Mugs Project, like one from the Earth Club for twenty-five SHS Earth Club mugs.  These mugs showcase an original design created by the High School Art department.  SHS has variety of different generic and custom silkscreen images for glazing, including Spartan sports designs.  Designs that will be available soon include more sports designs, cancer awareness (Art Club will be donating the proceeds from any Spartan Mug sold with a cancer awareness design to SACS), military logos, and a variety of scenery.

The Spartan Mugs Project is currently building inventory to sell at SHS, on Facebook, and at the spring and fall craft fairs which are held at SHS.  There are also plans to hold glazing nights/classes for public participation.  If you are interested in placing an order with the Spartan Mugs Project, please email Mr. Buck Engel at bengel@spartan.org with the subject Spartan Mugs.