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School halls become artist’s pallette

The bleak yellow halls of Clark Elementary are awash in the apple reds, lemon yellows, pasture greens and ocean blues of eight-foot tall crayons and rulers reaching from floors to ceilings.

“When people walk in the hall, they’ll see crayons,” said Bill Barron, local artist and Selma resident.

Barron enjoys painting portraits and drawing cartoon books, but he’s no formal artist. Instead, he does this to supplement his income as a minister.

Barron and student helper LeDarius Pettaway used two-foot long ovals of white poster board to sketch the outline of the crayon labels, and rulers to sketch the angle of a fresh-from-the-crayon-box tip.

Barron cracked open a fresh coat of red paint and dabbed the edges of the crayon, handing LeDarius a brush to fill it in.

Aubrey Larkin, principal, saw Barron’s work at Davis Elementary in Montgomery while visiting a friend who taught at the school, and thought the creative designs on hallway columns would be a fun addition to Clark.

Larkin hired Barron to paint the columns in the hall downstairs as crayons and the upstairs columns as rulers. The project should be completed in a week.

Tracy Ford, assistant principal at Davis Elementary, recalled the smiles and astonishment of his students after seeing the crayons, pencils, scissors and rulers on the columns.

“It gives a different approach in the hallway,” Ford said. “It builds an atmosphere that allows it be more inviting and more kid-friendly.”

Barron began the project at Davis Elementary last summer. Ford and his custodial team finished the paintings.

Several students from the Clark and Payne Elementary summer enrichment program will also assist Barron in painting.

“Students had glows on their faces when they first came into the school,” Ford said. “It was a ‘wow’ moment for them. It gave them a good feeling coming into an attractive environment.”