Kingsland High School art instructor Linda Wangsness holds a work in progress to be installed as part of Kingsland's hallway colorization project.  PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Kingsland High School art instructor Linda Wangsness holds a work in progress to be installed as part of Kingsland's hallway colorization project. PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Linda Wangsness has a scroll of bright words for Kingsland's student artists: "Hear ye, hear ye! Stop dragon your feet and paint!"

A dragon is just one of the colorful additions that visitors to Kingsland's schools may discover as the Kingsland art instructor, along with her students, are adding color - and school spirit - to the hallways and other areas.

"When Mr. Priebe and I were hired last April or May, he and I thought right away that there was too much white here. There wasn't any color or excitement in the hallways," said Wangsness.

She and Kingsland Elementary Principal Chris Priebe felt somewhat trapped in a whitewashed dungeon - the new hallways were neatly painted white and lacking signs of Kingsland Knights' school spirit - so Wangsness gladly obliged when Priebe asked her to take the gleaming educational institution and turn it into a Technicolor castle.

Having come from another school where she'd led a school pride hallway colorization project, veteran artist Wangsness has been "inspired to take the school's logo" and infuse it with Kingsland's black and silver, then inject some lime green - as other schools in the area have already claimed the hues Kingsland considered - and paint it on the walls over the lockers in the elementary and high school hallways and locker rooms.

"Mr. Priebe wanted me to put a Kingsland logo in each building, and we want to put accent walls in each classroom. We've chosen bright green for the logo because it's a color we've all agreed on, and the banner that the marching band carries has some green in it," she said. "We might do some striping down the hallways, put up statements such as 'respect, responsibility, integrity, pride,' and paint some murals."

The artist's vision for the elementary school office includes a variation on tessellations by artist M. C. Escher - a kaleidoscope of color subtle enough not to disrupt business there - but to expand the kaleidoscope once students, staff and visitors enter the elementary, perhaps by hanging medieval banners from the ceiling with Kingsland's name on one side and "Knights" on the other side.

For the high school, she hopes to welcome everyone with the a banner of "Halls of Excellence" painted on the expanse of concrete block over the downstairs hall entryway. That's how she's put her high school artists to work, too.

"I've had the kids researching pictures of castles and dragons, and we're practicing painting brickwork so that we can have the kids take turns painting faux bricks onto the concrete blocks on either side of the hallway by the superintendent's office," she explained. "I like to let the kids research and see what they come up with - they've come up with some ideas - and I've come up with one to put an archer's window on the wall of one side of the high school entry, and a scroll by the teacher's lounge on the other side. I also had the idea to paint a picture of the outside of our building to put in an empty display case there, but to make it more fantastical."

Plans are still underway for the high school, middle school and elementary, but one of the projects she's actually begun is to paint an enlargement of a picture of a dragon to be placed inside a large unused display message board just inside the high school's front lobby.

"I want to put a 'caged dragon' inside that bulletin board," she noted excitedly, adding a swath of orange paint to the dragon's left ear and a fiery look to his eyes.

She concluded, "I want to redo the hallways and have the kids help, let them see the transformation...add some spirit and color."