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Titans’ fiery mural snuffed

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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PEACH VALLEY ” There’s a fire burning at Coal Ridge High School.

And muralist Ron Clark didn’t realize he was fanning the flames when he included Prometheus ” a Titan of Greek mythology ” into a mural he’d painted at the school in July.

Today, when students return to the school, no such mural will be found in the hallways. The artwork has since been painted over.



The mural depicted Prometheus giving the gift of fire to man. Fitting for a school that refers to themselves as the Titans along with the motto ” lighting the fire within.

Clark, who is also an English teacher at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, said art should be open for interpretation.



“The whole idea behind art is to create conversation about a subject. If you don’t want to spark conversation, you might as well just put up wallpaper. I was disappointed that they covered it up. Not so much personally, because it’s their mural, they can do what they want with it. Philosophically it makes me sad, because I feel like they ran and hid without any conversation about the artwork,” he said.

Coal Ridge Principal, Jeanie Humble, decided to paint over the mural because there was a policy and procedure issue.

“It’s not even an issue anymore,” said Humble. “The fact of the matter is that the painting didn’t follow what the school agreed on.”

Humble did appreciate the two other works that Clark did for the school.

“He just expanded on what the school wanted,” said Debbie Ann Moeller, president of the Coal Ridge Booster Club. “He took some creative liberties with this mural.”

Vague ideas

Clark admitted taking artistic liberties on the Prometheus painting. He claimed to have made several attempts to communicate with the faculty and staff what he had in mind for the mural with no response. Adding that no one from the school had a solid idea of what they wanted, just vague ideas that included a flame and the beliefs of the school.

The original idea, according to Moeller, was for Clark do three pieces for the school. One in the gymnasium of a lightning bolt incorporating the word Titans into it; a flame with the schools’ motto in a common area; and a mural in the common area. Clark did all three pieces in a two-week period in early July. However, Clark stated that he never had direct contact from anyone at the school and that Information regarding the mural was transferred through Clark’s sister, Carrie Lyons, who communicated with Moeller.

“I talked to the principal (Humble) over the phone while she was on vacation about the mural,” Clark said. “She told me just to paint it and that she would see it when she got back.”

According to Humble, the painting was already done by the time she talked to Clark about it.

A religious debate

A photo of the Clark working on the project appeared in the July 10 issue of the Post Independent sparking a number of letters to the editor.

School officials declared that the decision to cover the painting had nothing to do with a letter to the editor written by Keith Wood ” Pastor of the Glenwood Springs Apostolic Church ” published in the Aug. 1 edition of the paper. In the letter, Wood compared the painting to the crucifixion of Jesus. By that time, Humble had already made the decision to cover it up.

“When I saw the picture (of the mural) in the paper I was just amazed,” Wood said. “I felt that it was my responsibility to stand up for what I believed in. The devil works his way into all sorts of places. People who know their god know that they need to be his voice in situations like this.”

“Where was this debate when the Glenwood Springs High School decided to call themselves the Demons?” asked Clark. “You can’t just make up a definition of what you want the Titans to be: like a lightning bolt. It just doesn’t work like that. If we are going to allow the students to choose a mascot and then tell them what to believe about the mascot, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Wood said that he thought Titans is a more suitable mascot name than the Demons of Glenwood Springs High School.

Clark expressed concern of allowing a school to represent themselves as the Titans but not being able to have one painted on the wall. Adding that covering up the painting without any debate was a hasty decision.

“How cool would it have been to leave it up for a year and see what kind of discussions came up,” Clark said. “After all, aren’t we trying to teach students to think critically about such issues. Now, they don’t even have that opportunity.”

So, the fire may be out at Coal Ridge, but the smoke still lingers.

Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 535

jgardner@postindependent.com


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