Spiva offers chance to win storm shelter in Saturday’s raffle

Nathan Carter


fully painted storm shelter.

“The shelter is an in-ground storm shelter donated by Midwest Storm Shelters and the owner … Aaron Miller,” said Jo Mueller, executive director of Spiva Center of the Arts. “He is totally passionate about storm shelters and the role they play in some pretty scary times. The donation of the shelter to Spiva works in two ways. For him, it’s a way to remember the people who died in the tornado, it’s a way to help ensure that going forward another family might be safe. He’s very passionate about saving lives.”

The artist, Julie Lankford Olds, will be painting at 11 a.m. Saturday from the Spiva Center for the Arts, located at 222 W. Third Street. Olds survived the Picher, Okla., tornado in 2008.

“For the inside of the storm shelter she’s going to create a mural that illustrates native plants, birds and animals,” Mueller said. “The top of it … will be this stylized bright sun, and the images on the inside of it will be this mural. Where she lives now she has this storm shelter. She was in one of those during a tornado during an event. She knows that it’s especially important, especially for families with children, that this feels good and comforting.”

Mueller also invites people looking to win the shelter to view the exhibit, “On the Other Side.” 

Spiva placed an artist challenge with no restrictions for entry, which received a wide variety of responses.

“We have artwork here from professional artists as well as hobbyists as well as people who don’t consider themselves as artists at all, but because they went through it, they felt compelled to make something to help express their feelings,” she said. “Art is a great way for people to work through emotion and difficult experiences, particularly when there are all these conflicting emotions going on.”

Visitors have had a variety of responses to the exhibit, most of them positive.

“People have come here saying they were afraid to come here, that they were afraid it would bring up a lot of emotion, and it did,” Mueller said. “One particular woman was very happy because she said she hadn’t cried yet, and this brought those tears to her which she said she thought was the beginning of the healing process.”

Pieces that have elicited strong emotional reactions include “The Giving Tree,” “Faith, Hope and Love,” and a popular piece called “The Day that Puff Played Rough” has received a lot of comments from visitors.

The winner of the shelter will be announced Wednesday, Nov. 2.