SHORT GAP - Local artist Karen Clark is no stranger to Frankfort High School or the Falcons' boys' and girls' soccer programs. Along with her twin sister Keith, an Arizona resident, Clark is a 1988 Frankfort graduate. Karen and her husband Tim have raised three children, all of whom have gone to Frankfort, all of whom have played soccer. Sons Ryan and Ein are Frankfort graduates, while daughter Erin currently is a sophomore playing in the girls' soccer program.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Local artist Karen Clark is no stranger to Frankfort High School or the Falcons’ boys’ and girls’ soccer programs. Along with her twin sister Keith, an Arizona resident, Clark is a 1988 Frankfort graduate. Karen and her husband Tim have raised three children, all of whom have gone to Frankfort, all of whom have played soccer. Sons Ryan and Ein are Frankfort graduates, while daughter Erin currently is a sophomore playing in the girls’ soccer program.
As such, you might say that Karen Clark is like many of us in that she’s spent a great deal of time supporting her student-athlete children, be it transporting back and forth to games and practices, completing other player-parent duties, or just spectating alongside soccer pitches in Short Gap and beyond.
With three participating student athletes over the years, the Clark family has certainly made their mark on Frankfort’s soccer programs. Recently, however, Karen Clark found a way to quite literally leave her family’s mark on the program as Clark, with the help of her twin sister Keith, painted a large Falcon soccer logo on the wall of the Frankfort soccer field house.
It’s a project that has its roots in actions taken by Karen a few years ago, beginning with her design of a new logo for Frankfort soccer.
“During my son Ein’s junior year, I decided to do a poster to hang up for homecoming. I received a lot of positive responses from the parents. Several people said they would like to see it painted on the Field House. That thought stayed in the back of my mind for a while,” Karen explained.
The logo, very unique and detailed, was in fact a big hit, and began being utilized on clothing and other Frankfort soccer related items. The idea of painting the logo on the field house, however, stayed just a thought for a couple years, until the perfect time and inspiration arose for action.
“My twin sister Keith came to stay with me for the entire summer last year and I thought it would be a great project for us to do together, since we are both artists and both Frankfort graduates. Each of us can do a variety of art work, but we both have our specialties,” Karen explained.
According to Clark, “My sister, Keith Spooner, is a stone sculptor and has had several gallery shows in Phoenix, Arizona. She is also a designer and welder, enabling her to design and build custom steel fences, gates, decorative landscape panels, steel staircases and fireplace surrounds.”
Then there are Karen Clark’s own artistic endeavors, “I too have done art work all my life. For the past several years I have been designing and building custom stained glass windows for clients. I had so much scrap glass from those projects that I started doing mosaics too, which I really enjoy.”
With the idea already in her mind, having her sister join her for the summer created the opportunity for the birthing of the painting project.
“My sister and I also really enjoy doing art together, so we decided to inquire about painting my soccer logo on the soccer field house. Mr. Riley was a teacher at Frankfort when we were students there, so he knew we were capable of the project. He gave us the okay and we began,” Clark detailed.
It was quite the undertaking, there were some design adaptations that needed to be made and the challenges associated with painting a detailed design on a brick wall, adding up to quite a bit of time spent on the project.
According to Clark, “Painting it on a textured brick wall proved to be difficult, so we chose to use only part of the original logo. However, by doing so, we were able to make the Falcon even bigger. It took us quite a bit of time to complete the project. I believe my sister had 15 hours in it, and I had 23.”
The creation and adoption of the logo, the large painting of the logo on the soccer field house, altogether, the projects have proven to be quite successful, very much appreciated, and an endeavor well worth the effort.
“I feel like it was well worth the time and effort. I love how it turned out. My hope is that by giving the soccer teams their own logo, it will bring them some special pride,” Karen stated.
According to Clark, “I was really happy to have been able to do this project. Everyone has something that they are good at, and I would encourage people to contribute their talents. This happens to be my thing.”
Frankfort boys’ soccer coach Patrick Brett is very appreciative of the Clark family’s efforts, “Karen came up with this really cool idea for the soccer programs which really took off, culminating with the logo being painted on the new field house. It’s truly unique and looks fantastic!”
At Frankfort, the soccer programs are in the unique position that they don’t typically share facilities with the football program, but rather with assistance have carved out a soccer space of their own on the grounds of Frankfort Middle School.
Along with improvements that have been made over the years, to include the installation of bleachers and the construction of the field house itself, Clark’s large, painted logo is the perfect addition and a great source of side for the programs.
There are many ways for parent volunteers to provide assistance to their student-athletes teams. Some cut grass, some spearhead a fundraiser, others work the concession stand or coordinate banquets and such, all very worthwhile activities.
Then occasionally someone comes along with a special talent and decides to go above and beyond, going that extra mile to make an impactful difference. Such is the case with Karen Clark and family as they’ve physically made their mark with Frankfort’s soccer programs. Might you be inspired to use your special talent in a similar way.