Friday, August 24, 2007

Ma, He's Painting on the Walls Again!

The artist at work

Our most prolific outdoor muralist is at it again. On the backside of the Arkley Centre for the Performing Arts, artist Duane Flatmo is crafting an heroic, old-world, trompe-l’oeil painted monument to the arts. The arch was inspired and designed from architectural photos he took on a trip to Paris (France). When the building’s backdrop of sky is the right shade of blue, it adds even more to the illusion that you are seeing through it.

The dancer and musical figures reflect the performance aspect of the building, with musicians’ faces pulled from the pages of a jazz magazine.

When I first moved to town, the building was home to the State movie theatre – a grand old girl in the grand old style – soaring spaces with upstairs and downstairs seating, one screen, one movie at a time. With the advent of modern multiplex theatres, the old theatres wasted away. This one became part of Daly’s Department Store, a busy retail store in the heyday of downtown merchants – when they dominated city business, politics and society. Along came the mall and downtown changed again.

Vacant and in disrepair, the building was finally rescued, rehabbed, restored, and refurbished by our local billionaire benefactor, and reincarnated as an elegant performance theatre. The other remaining portion of the Daly’s store had already been redone and was operating as a new local bank.

Downtown is gradually coming back. Businesses still come and go, but there is slow, steady improvement. Old Town facades are Victorian jewels, housing a variety of shops, galleries, offices, restaurants – some thriving, some hanging on. The waterfront is our sometime vision of loveliness, and visionaries have big plans. Oh, they do have plans.

Old building in downtown

New artsy-tecture building in downtown

We are, of course, courted regularly by the Big Boxes who hope that we will fall for their lines and be seduced into letting them in. We try to hold them off, fearing date rape.

1 comment:

Feralone said...

Please, just let Trader Joe's in..only store with cheap nuts.