The Best Reward!

A little boy came into the room and looked at the floor. His eyes got as big as dinner plates as he looked at the brightly painted canvas. I asked him "Do you know what this is?" and he answered with a nod, "Snakes and Ladders." After a pause he then said, "but where is the thing?" I thought for a moment and asked him if he meant the dice. "Yeah!" was his answer. I went to get the die and when he saw it, if it was possible, his eyes got bigger and his mouth opened in a wordless "Wow!" The die I handed him was a 16" foam cube that was almost more than he could hold in his out stretched arms.

Fawkes and his Dad Roger played the game undisturbed for the next half an hour. The delight we saw in Fawkes' eyes and the pleasure his Dad had playing with his son was the best reward we could ever ask for. By we, I mean the 12 people who had completed the game after some 117 hours of drawing, taping and painting.

The people who helped create the snakes, ladders, colourful squares and 100 numbers included three students from the University, two artists from the Lethbridge Artists Club, three family members of one of the artists, and 3 Galt staff and a spouse of one of the staff memebers.

We started with a blank piece of raw canvas measuring 18' by 18'. A pencil grid was layed out and then snakes and ladders were sketched onto the canvas. Exterior flat paint diluted 20% with distilled water (to help the paint soak into the canvas) was used to paint all the features. The only place to work on this size of canvas was the floor and there were many sore backs and knees before it was completed. We found the most challenging part of the job was getting the numbers on the squares accurately - don't look too close at those numbers - as several of us made some minor goofs.

The snakes on the game are artistic representation of local snakes including Red Sided, Plains and Wandering Garter snakes, a Bull and Rattle Snake.

The giant Snakes and Ladders game was created to add to the fun and laughter surrounding the Galt Museum & Archives new special exhibit Toys & Games ~ engage, entertain and educate. It will be available in the Viewing Gallery whenever that space is available so come and challenge friends and family to a game. Throw the huge di and count off the squares, find the ladders and avoid the snakes.