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High School Student Creates Life-Size Sculpture for Creston’s 150th Anniversary

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CRESTON, Iowa  --  The City of Creston celebrates 150 years this month and is honoring its history with a sculpture from today’s youth.

Alissa Weinkoetz, a senior at East Union High School is getting back to the roots, or rather the tracks, of Creston’s railroad history with her life-sized Gandy Dancers statue.

“There’s two railroad people, one is like kind of with its mallet up and one is hitting a spike on the spike head and then the dance, I don’t know if you’ve watched video but like they just move back and forth and they just do that until the spike is driven in,” Weinkoetz said.

The sculpture is made up of thousands of donated metal pieces such as railroad spikes, wrenches, ax heads, animal traps and even her family friend’s broken pistol that he’s had since he was little.

This sculpture took Alissa about two months to complete but it is far from her first metal sculpture. Her dad taught her how to weld when she was in 4th grade but when it comes to learning how to weld creatively, that was all on her own.

“I just kind of go with the flow and just start piecing things together, I just found the right pieces for the right spot,” Weinkoetz said.

She began just welding pieces together around a solid structure until they created a shape.

She said this shape represents not only Creston but because every piece was donated, it represents every individual in the community.

“It’s bringing everyone’s stuff together and having the sculpture to look at for years down and family members can come back and say 'oh that was in my family' and go back and look at it I think that’s pretty cool,” Weinkoetz said.

Alissa was paid $3,000 for this project and it opened her eyes to a future in artistic welding as well as continuing her passion for agriculture.

You can see this sculpture for yourself at the Northwest corner of the Creston restored depot.

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