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McLain High School art shoe takes big and bold steps

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 08:28:53-04

TULSA, Okla.  — A shoe art project at McLain High School is growing into something unexpected.

Since the completion of the McLain art shoe, it made its first debut at a local museum, proving the possibilities for this high school project are endless.

“This was the first shoe that started all the sneakerhead culture — that’s what created this obsession with sneakers,” said Adam Carnes, fine arts teacher at McLain High School.

Just as the original 1985 "Chicago" Air Jordan 1 created a movement within the sneaker world, the McLain OG shoe art project also started a phenomenon at McLain.

“Everyone that’s seen is like 'Wow, hold on a second... that’s taller than I am,'" Christian Sanders said. Sanders is one of the students who worked on the project and said the project helped boost his self-esteem.

“It makes me want to get more creative on certain things that I create and find more ways to get everyone else to get a bigger feeling on it or get more involved or get more involved into projects, or activities, or anything like that,” he said.

Carnes said the project was inspired by a student who wanted to paint his own shoes. Soon that idea grew into something bigger than students ever expected.

“Students didn’t quite get the scope of what the project was going to be, but once it started turning into this giant thing,” Carnes said.

Carnes and 71 students worked on the shoe. They used cardboard, flour, water, and paint for the body and canvas for the shoelaces — it took them 61 days to complete. Since then the sculpture already made its first museum appearance at the Philbrook's Sneaker Soiree.

“It’s been to the museum, so I’d say that’s a big step,” Sanders said.

It's a big step Carnes and others at McLain hope will bring greater opportunities for the students. While students attended the recent PGA Beyond the Greens event, one of the school coaches met a former Nike employee and Vice President for the Jordan Brand. Since then, they've been in contact with him, hoping he can help connect them with the right sources to get each student a pair of Jordans as a reward for their hard work.

“Not everyone can afford $200-$300 shoes, but I believe that they put in that work through their art that they’re deserving of that to me,” Social Service Specialist for McLain, Kim James said.


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