Scott Hagan, the Barn Artist, recently completed a three year project to paint the gymnasiums of Barnesville high, elementary and middle schools. Hagan, known for his outdoor barn and mural paintings, had his first "brush" with school gym projects at his alma mater, Beallsville High School in 2010. He had done some work at the old Beallsville building before painting the new one, which included the school's Blue Devil mascot on the locker room doors.
Since then he has painted gyms in all the other Switzerland of Ohio Schools District schools - Skuvue, Powhatan, Monroe Central, and River. He painted the Meadowbrook gym in Guernsey County in 2014. He started a project at Buckeye Trail two weeks ago, and will be painting at Valley High School.
His work at the Barnesville gyms began with the high school in 2015. Hagan said that project included painting the ceiling, changing it from bright orange to black which helped disguise the duct work and helped make the walls really stand out. He said he recently went back into the BHS gym after not having done so in over a year.
"That gym really is special," Hagan said.
Next he tackled the elementary school gym in 2016 which also entailed painting the ceiling. His Facebook page chronicled that project, including the dozens of balls he retrieved from the rafters.
Not as involved as the high school and elementary school gyms, the middle school gym came next this year and Hagan put the finishing touches on it April 9. He said the challenge in that gym was narrowing the five different shades of green down to just two.
In fact, finding the correct shade of "Shamrock" green was Hagan's biggest challenge of the Barnesville project. He said the high school gym design was submitted to the Barnesville Exempted Village School District Board of Education for approval and many people had strong opinions about the green shade. At the start of the project in 2015, Hagan even had Sherwin Williams mix "Barnesville Green" which is available for purchase.
Hagan said he met with BHS art teacher Luke Johnson and his students for input on the school colors. "They were great," he said
He also credited Athletic Director Mark Cook, who planned the projects around the refinishing of the gym floors. Hagan also appreciated district treasurer Matt King and the entire custodial staff.
"They were always good to work with. It is the custodians that make things happen," Hagan said.
After the high school project, Hagan was given free artistic license in the other gyms. He said spacial challenges lead to changes in design as he goes along and most schools allow him to be creative.
"Each gym is different and has its own unique challenges," he said. "That's what makes it fun."
Hagan said it is the students themselves that have provided the most feedback on the gyms. His two children are students in the district. His daughter is a student at the middle school and his son is a student at the elementary school.
"The compliments from the students always make me feel good," he said.
Hagan worked on the gyms outside of school hours and in between his other outdoor painting projects which over the years have taken him to 19 different states including California, North Dakota and Florida. Hagan said he enjoys traveling and will be headed to Kansas in December for two projects. His goal is to paint a barn in all 50 states. In Barnesville, he painted a patriotic mural on the outside of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2792 , as well as recreating an advertisement sign on the outside of the historic Bradfield building.
"Inside painting has its advantages, but I do enjoy being outside in the summer," he said.
Hagan, who got his start as the Ohio Bicentennial Barn painter after being profiled in an article by Pamela McCort in the Barnesville Enterprise in the 1997, has been featured in many national publications since. For more information about Hagan visit barnartist.com.