When Victoria Riehle decided a creative student art project was needed to promote Gesu School's theme this year, "Building a Community of Faith," she knew exactly where to turn: fifth-grader Max Minor.
In just 7 1/2 hours, spread out over the first week of school, Max built "G-Man," a 40-inch tall construction worker out of Lego building blocks, leaving a cavity inside the figure's body into which he placed speakers to give his creation a voice playable from recordings on an MP3 device.
"He is just very creative, a very creative child," Ms. Riehle, Gesu's art teacher, said last week after Max brought "G-Man" to the school for display in the main lobby. "I asked him about building a construction man, and he took it from there."
Max, who has been building things with Legos since toddlerhood, used more than 2,000 blocks in seven colors to build G-Man, giving him sturdy arms and legs, an orange safety vest, and a yellow cap.
He said he prefers Legos as his creative medium because of the building blocks' versatility: "The possibilities are endless when you're building with Legos."
And G-Man is hardly Max's first big Lego project. Mom Paula Minor says her industrious son once built a huge bookshelf, complete with space for a sound system and specialized cubbies for video games, in his bedroom.
His summertime project is one the family hopes might attract interest from the University of Toledo: a 4-by-6-foot model of Savage Hall, complete with concession stands and a miniature Jumbotron scoreboard that he lowers from the ceiling on a cable.
Not surprisingly, there are lots of Lego blocks in the Minor household, but Mrs. Minor said her son complies with the family guideline that the Legos generally stay in the basement -- except for finished projects, of course.
"We have had Legos for him since he was barely standing," she said. "This has just been his niche since he was 18 months old," she said.
Max maintains a blog, maxlegofan.blogspot.com, where he posts photographs of his Lego creations, and he also contributes pictures of his more elaborate work to the Lego corporate Web site's contributions page.
The Minors have lost track of just how many Lego blocks Max has, but "every holiday, every birthday, that's what he gets," Mrs. Miinor said.
And while Mom says a trip to one of the Legoland theme parks might be in the cards for a future family vacation, Max said his top priority is obtaining more parts for future projects, which may include converting his miniature Savage Hall into a model of the new Lucas County Arena, complete with a replica hockey rink.
"I just hope to get to the Lego store soon, so I can stock up on some of the pieces I need," he said.