Spotlights & Profiles

Faculty & Staff Spotlights

A fine mess: Deanna Crane and her crew clean up the dust, clay and paint at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts

Jan. 17, 2013

They spill paint on the floor, create cardboard dust with their 3-D projects, slop wet clay all over and are around all hours of the night. While creating art, the IU students in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts create a fine mess.

Deanna Crane

Deanna Crane, with the Physical Plant, is responsible for the crew that cleans up after art students.  

That’s where the Physical Plant's Deanna Crane, area supervisor of building services, comes in with her two-person crew, Steve Gillespie and James Stanger. She creates a schedule that makes cleaning the building manageable. Offices are done a certain day, detailing restrooms occurs on a rotating schedule and some rooms are cleaned once a week or by request. The large auditorium must be ready for film showings, modeling classes and more.

There are rules for the crew: don’t touch the still lifes or move any of the benches around them. Students have rules, too -- they must put chairs on the tables in the ceramics area every Thursday night so the floors can be cleaned.

The ceramics rooms are the most challenging to clean, Crane said. Chunks of clay harden on the floors, so each week, the floor must be scraped before the dust is collected (workers must wear particle masks or respirators for this task because the dust contains silica) and, finally, mopped.

The museum connected to the Fine Arts Building is locked up at night, so a daytime custodial team handles the gallery areas, while an evening custodian cleans the public areas of the IU Art Museum.

Crane has been with Physical Plant for 14 years and working on the fine arts building for three years. She supervises a total of 18 employees who work in the School of Education, the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center and Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, the IU Cinema and the IU Art Museum. One of her employees, Sue Stowinski, was presented with a Staff Merit Award at a Dec. 3 ceremony on campus.


These treasures are among the many under Deanna Crane's purview.

Prior to her position at Physical Plant, Crane was a group leader in the Herman B Wells Library, learning supervisory skills from now-retired Shelby Anderson. The former substitute teacher in the North Lawrence School District once worked as a part-time physical education teacher at St. Vincent DePaul School in Bedford.

Crane and her crew aren't fazed by the messes or the round-the-clock parade of students.

“I’m an artist myself, so I enjoy seeing all the creations around me while I work,” Gillespie said.

Crane has a friendly attitude toward the students working there -- even those working in the space past the building's 2 a.m. official closing time. Once, she encountered an artist and her dog in one of the classrooms. It didn't phase her. “You never know what you may come across when you turn a corner in this building,” she said.

“The students in this building really want to be here," Gillespie said. "They are doing what they love doing, and they work hard at it.”

Read more Faculty & Staff Spotlights stories »