Alva Review-Courier -

Wide open space invites creativity


Marione Martin

The entrance to the newly remodeled art building at Alva High School still needs some cleanup, but the interior work is finished. Art instructor Greg McClure gave Alva School Board members a tour on Monday.

When classes begin Aug. 12, Alva High School art students will have a beautifully remodeled facility to enjoy. With the art building remodeling project completed, school board members and administrators left their Monday meeting in the library to see the transformation.

What had been a collection of somewhat small rooms has now become an open, light-filled space. Art instructor Greg McClure proudly showed off the renovations.

Entering through the east-facing door, one steps into a large L-shaped room. White-painted walls and highly polished concrete floors give a feeling of airiness and light. Overhead, metal girders and ductwork gleam. The absence of a ceiling seems to expand the space further.

McClure stands near the southeast corner of the L, demonstrating where he can see all the student work areas. Now, when students tell him they've been busy with their projects, he can verify that they have.

Superintendent Tim Argo said he told McClure the walls would make a perfect showcase for displaying student art, but McClure objected to the vision of a pristine gallery. "You can't tell a student to create and then tell him not to make a mess," he said.

To the right of the entry is a windowless room that McClure dubbed the safe room. That's not to say it's a tornado refuge. Instead, it's for expensive art supplies and other items that need safeguarding. McClure said sometimes students purchase silver or gems to include in their pieces. This room will keep them safe from "walking off."

Another welcome addition is a spray booth mounted on the north wall. Students can use it for spray painting or applying protective finishes to their work without spreading fumes and spatter throughout the space.

Five deep sinks provide space to wash equipment and hands. There are also restrooms at the north end of the area. On the west side is a walled classroom-size area.

Marione Martin

Exposed girders and ductwork gleam above polished floors in the art building. A spray booth on the north wall will confine fumes and paint.

Before art classes can be held in the building, a city water project must be completed. When the building was renovated, a fire hydrant was removed. The water project will replace that with two hydrants and provide improved water pressure to them. It's a joint venture with the city and the school sharing the cost.

McClure said he plans to enlist students to help him place all the art equipment and supplies in the building. That way they'll have ownership in the way it is set up and be more protective of how everything is handled.

He's also thinking of ways to involve the community. One idea is for an event similar to the tipsy artist painting evenings, but he would substitute pottery for painting. He said it would be require two evenings with students instructing participants on how to throw a pot for the first night. The second would be for painting and embellishing the finished creation.

McClure's daughter teaches art in the Ponca City schools where she has a nice setup he has envied. Now after seeing the Alva art building, he says she seems to be a bit jealous.


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