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Mastrangelo’s Environmental Art Education-Earth Care: Part Four (Earth Day is Every Day)

Bobbi Mastrangelo’s class room teaching experience influenced the way she shared and explained her art and activities.  As a Title One Tutor and Writing Teacher at Smithtown Elementary School, not only did she educate students about her art, but she often wrote on the same topic assigned to them and enabled them to comment on her writing. One project that truly captivated the students was an outdoor adventure at a sidewalk manhole cover which included observations and note taking, a crayon rubbing on paper, and finished compositions in the classroom.

Bobbi has also reached out across the USA and Globally with educational connections to her Manhole Art.  The Video Interviews by various Television Stations document the history of Mastrangelo’s Art and educate the viewers about the function and importance of Manhole Covers to our infrastructure.

Teacher Turned artist

“Bobbi Mastrangelo, a former elementary school teacher is now a Port Jefferson Artist. Her art is very different from most peoples’ idea of art. She makes relief art and sculptures of manhole covers. Manhole covers are used by town, utility and municipal workers to gain access to everything underground like storm drains and gasoline pumps.

Bobbi has been doing her art since the 1980’s. She does this not only for a hobby, but to preserve history. Some of the manhole covers could be 100 years old and not be here anymore, so she likes to save what it looked like. Bobbi’s art can be seen in art galleries all over the world so people can see what different manhole covers from all over the world look like.”

     By Robby Grisafi, 5thGrader in 2003

This article appeared in The Smithtown Elementary School Newspaper in 2003, four years after Mrs.Mastrangelo had retired as a Title One Tutor.

Bobbi Mastrangelo shared her art and environmental concerns with her students.  One writing project involved observing a manhole cover, doing a rubbing and small groups writing about their observations: 5th grader Emily said, “My favorite topic was The Manhole Cover Story. Once I started, I couldn’t stop using descriptive words.  The manhole cover rubbing turned out to be a masterpiece.”  Below is a manhole Story written by three students.

Dana and Marissa with a Bell System Class Rubbing
Dana and Marissa with a Bell System Class Rubbing


“On June 3rd, 1999 we experienced the first manhole rubbing of our lives.  First our class tapped the cover to use our first sense-hearing. We heard a ping sound. When we also touched the cover we were able to deduce that the cover was made out of metal next to concrete. We then used our sight and observed that there were sand and litter on the cover.  In the final steps of the process of this experience, we each rubbed one or two squares in different colors.  Our Class’s Final project was a masterpiece created by Room 24 with expertise and knowledge of Mrs. Mastrangelo who led the way.  We had fun rubbing the cover.”

Vestige SC
Vestige SC

Documenting the disappearing legacy of intricate cast iron manhole covers is an important element of Bobbi’s work. The amazing patterns of older covers are recorded in some of Mastrangelo’s art. In essence, they have already become historic documentations.” Bobbi Mastrangelo is featured on Sewers in Our Culture at: 

Detail of KANGQIAO Cover: China
Detail of KANGQIAO Great Wall Cover China

Manhole Cover Education is shared in a collaboration with Rock Yuan.  His Corporation, is now the largest manufacturer of composite manhole covers in China.

His team contributed an informative  article about manhole covers for Bobbi Mastrangelo’s Blog: The Marvels of Manhole Covers.”

REUSE on Ecopsis Switzerland
REUSE on Ecopsis Switzerland

ECOPSIS is an International  Sanitation Consultancy Firm based in Cully Switzerland. It is a member of the Swiss Association for Professionals in Water Protection. Mastrangelo’s “Reuse” cover is featured on the contact page of their website:


Bobbi Mastrangelo in Moscow TV Guide
Bobbi Mastrangelo in Moscow TV Guide

In 2003, Bobbi Mastrangelo was featured in TV Park, Moscow’ TV Guide. “Beauty Underfoot” (English Translation) by Anna Basakova displayed an array of unique manhole covers and a photo of Bobbi Mastrangelo holding a grate overhead. The author had gleaned the information from the Russian Website which features some of Mastrangelo’s art in Archives and Projects:

Mastrangelo With Freedom Grate
Mastrangelo With Freedom Grate

“Engineers are not the only ones interested in manhole covers. Bobbi Mastrangelo of Poinciana, Fla., is a retired schoolteacher who has gained international recognition for unusual art projects.” So Wrote Barbara Sieminsky for the Municipal.Com.

City of Orlando
City of Orlando

Four TV interviews capture the evolution of Bobbi’s manhole art from its inception three decades ago. 1983 Inside Newsday Channel 6. “Manhole Art”   1987 LI News Channel 12 “Manhole Covers Fascinate Bobbi Mastrangelo” 1998 LI News Channel 12 “The Artist & Grate Works”   2013 WUCF-TV Artisode #108 Features Bobbi Mastrangelo’s “Grate Works of Art”

Bobbi’s Artisode is in the PBS Bank, being shared around the country in Arts and Culture features. So Mastrangelo is virtually visiting the USA, plus it has been shown on several channels in Russia.



4 replies on “Mastrangelo’s Environmental Art Education-Earth Care: Part Four (Earth Day is Every Day)”

Dear Bobbi:
You sent me this message, and I was working on a sign for my street: LOVE THE EARTH!!! KEEP IT CLEAN!!! EARTH DAY IS FOREVER!!!!
I know You have been involved with C>L>E>A>N> and other environmental causes, constructions and messages. The rubbings of manhole covers, created by you and the children are wonderful.
Life is a circle, it is a wheel, it is a FLOW!!! Glad to hear from you and that you are sending forth your message.
We are “Up-State” Sisters, linked forever by “New Art in New York”.
Thank you for sending this to us,

Best to you and Al.
Helene and Bill
W.And H. Leonardi & Co.

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