Under her leadership, the Firehouse expanded to provide more sales area so local artists could make their art available for the community to acquire and enjoy. I was fortunate to be the architect on that expansion while working at Architects in Partnership.
So I’ve watched McClellan work tirelessly over the years. When it seems she is slowing down a bit, the next time I talk to her, she has seen something else that needs to be addressed and she has started something else.
So how has the aging process influenced her approach to the arts and the Norman community? After the Firehouse, she and a number of local artists saw the need to create a venue for showing artists not involved in the Firehouse and also for musicians looking for an outlet for their creative process.
This led to the formation of the Performing Arts Studio in the historic Santa Fe Depot. Slowly, they developed programs that included the continuation of the free Summer Breeze Concert Series, quickly leading to poetry readings, the Winter Wind Concert Series, Jazz in the Gallery and gallery art displays.
To sum it up, McClellan has slowed a little, but she still has the vision to make Norman a destination art community. She realizes that maybe it will not be like Santa Fe, N.M., but feels this community will be a better place because of the public art it displays and will continue seeking and supporting local community artists to produce and display their work.
When McClellan thinks of retiring, she sees another need and steps out to fill that artistic void in the Norman community to create the art destination many have envisioned. Until it really happens, her yard will continue to starve for her attention.
David L. Boeck is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Oklahoma.
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