Art doesn’t have to be hung in a gallery or be created with special tools. With some Cool Whip containers, hula hoops, duct tape and a bit of paint, Richard Gwyn can construct the nearly life-sized wheels of a covered wagon.
The wagon was made in 2010 and has been used in a multitude of different projects. The most recent is a vacation Bible school at New Hope Fellowship in Ingram, which is going on this week and features a Western theme.
Gwyn and his wife, Ginger, have been helping children’s religious programs since 1987. Gwyn said he makes his props to help kids learn about the salvation of Jesus, which is important to him.
“We love kids,” Gwyn said. “The kids are our future of what’s going to go on — not only at church but the future of our country. If we can just get something going the right direction, we hope that part of this is where it starts. Part of it is to know Jesus.”
David Billeiter, the pastor at the church, said that the program thrives because of the efforts of people like the Gwyns, and the props help to enhance learning.
“The kids can identify with it, and I think (teachers) are using them as teaching tools,” Billeiter said. “I just think the kids enjoy their Western heritage.”
Besides bringing the wagon, Richard Gwyn — with the help of some church volunteers — made countless horseshoes, paintings of roadrunners and horses, a stage for a puppet show and more.
The objects, including the paintings and the horseshoes, are all made of lightweight materials such as foam. That makes them easier to pick up and save for later, and if they get damaged, it’s not as big of a deal, Gwyn said.
He holds onto all of his artwork after programs.
“When you put that much time in it, you definitely want to be able to protect it, so you can use it again,” Gwyn said.
But the most important thing is helping the children, Gwyn added.
Some children are in the vacation Bible school who are in need.
“We hope that maybe we’re a little bit of a difference in their lives,” Gwyn said. “They want Jesus to come into their heart, and that’s what we’re here for.”