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Kanab Teens Restore Community Nativity Set

A volunteer paints a wiseman as part of the restorative process.

More than 40 Kanab High School Students have restored their community’s life-size nativity set over the past several months.

The Nativity project was directed by the school’s art teacher, Joshua Baird. Baird says the set would cost approximately $6,000 to replace, but was only about $600 to restore. Ultimately though, Baird says this endeavor was more valuable than any savings.

“I was kind of surprised by the response of a lot of kids," says Baird. "I have a few students who it’s hard to get them engaged in some of the more typical classroom projects but they really just, it’s almost like a new part of them came out and they were really excited to work on something big.”

33 years ago a group of civic-minded residents organized to raise funds from within the community to purchase the nativity set. Since then the figures had become so weathered that they had been out of use for several years and were sitting in a storage shed. Little Hollywood Media is a Kanab film company which documented the restoration. This is a clip from their short film featuring volunteer, Samantha Colton.

“I think that the reason people like painting these is because it’s more interactive, we can all work together and be one and do the same thing and have the same idea in mind,” she says.

The fully restored nativity set is on display on the front lawn of the LDS chapel across the street from the Kanab Fire Station. 

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