Art and Leadership

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG)  |  By Margaret Snider
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Thanks to Leadership Rancho Cordova Class XI and artist Gina Rossi (in back), both children and adults can lock their bikes on artistic and imaginative bike racks in locations around Rancho Cordova. -- Photo by Mika

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Leadership Rancho Cordova Class XI members Randall Hein, left; Kristin Goble, project lead; and Renee John, right, celebrate the completion of their project along with artist Gina Rossi, center, and Kinney High School welding student Charles Struble. -- Photo by Mika

Sculptured Bike Racks Grace Rancho Cordova Locations

With a shower of sparks, metal sculpture artist Gina Rossi and Kinney High School welding student Charles Struble, 18, welded artistic and functional bike racks into place at Sacramento Children’s Museum. The welding and ribbon cutting on May 8 marked the completion of Leadership Rancho Cordova Class XI’s project, following nine months of leadership and business training, and lots of work to make the project happen. Kristin Goble was the project lead, providing organization and liaison between artist and team members.

Maria Kniestedt, a member of the class, said the group raised over $25,000 in funds for the project. “Our class decided that it wanted to build on the City’s current status as a bicycle friendly city,” Kniestedt said. “They also wanted to support residents who had a desire to bike through the city, and so that is how we came up with our project.”

The six locations for the bike racks consisted of Sacramento Children’s Museum, Hagan Community Park, Village Green Park, Folsom Lake College Rancho Cordova Center, Mather Veterans Village, and Rivergate Shopping Center. Each location had its own unique and imaginative design, fashioned by Rossi in collaboration with the class. Rossi started as a child making sculpture from hangers and socks. Always interested in metalwork, she later became a certified welder and started receiving commissions for bike racks. “That became my niche,” Rossi said. “It’s art, yet it’s functional and everybody wants them.” Rossi also teaches welding classes for all ages at her Sacramento studio, Rossi Sculptural Designs.

“She (Rossi) has such a passion for this, and so much creativity and vision,” said Kniestedt. “The fact that she wanted to layer in an educational component by including our students from Kinney High School, their welding program, made it truly an amazing partnership.”

Eight of the more advanced welding students at Kinney participated, three of whom were present at the Sacramento Children’s Museum on the 8th. Besides Struble, the others were Dacari Crawford, 16, and Nathan Douglas, 17. Struble is interested in welding as an occupation. “I think mostly everybody who’s taking the class is there because they want to become a welder.” Struble is currently working on his welding certification.

Douglas plans to continue welding classes. Though he said that sitting down working was relaxing to him, it was definitely hard work. “You’ve got to be willing to have patience for trial and error,” Douglas said, “because you’ve got to mess up to learn what you have to do.”

Kinney High School welding instructor Richard Smith was glad for the opportunity the work presented for the students. The kids have also worked on a piece of exercise equipment for the U.S. Army, and are looking forward to another collaborative project with a private school, fabricating benches.

Because the ongoing fund-raising and the various approvals needed took time to come through, the actual work by the students at Kinney started about nine days before school let out for the year. In spite of the short timeline, the project was completed on time.

“I had to work magic to get it done,” Rossi said. “...Everybody just pulled together toward the end, like that last hurdle in a race. We started to get energy, we just started getting it, making it happen.”

For more information about Leadership Rancho Cordova, contact Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce. For information about Rossi Sculptural Designs, see