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Keeping tradition

Cheers, laughs and stunned awes greeted nationally recognized muralist John Pugh Thursday night as he unveiled his elaborate mural plan for the Del Oro Theatre.

The plan blends the area’s Yuba River and mining traditions. A cascading Yuba River rests front and center in Pugh’s plans for the theater’s expansive outside back wall. Miners on the side descend into a lush green landscape next to the river.

This design, such as so many other Pugh originals, is constructed to appear three dimensional, as if viewing through a transparent wall to reveal an unusual scene.



“I’m surprised he could tie that many pieces into the composition,” said Rebecca Coffman, a Nevada City resident who attended Thursday’s fundraiser at the theater. “I really like it. It’s great that the theater owners are taking this on.”

The previous Del Oro mural, known as the “Heart of the Gold Industry,” was painted over when the cinema owners remodeled the building in 2004.




“I was skeptical,” said Lew Aebersold of Grass Valley. But after hearing Pugh’s presentation Thursday and seeing the display, Aebersold said he believed the design is “going to be OK.”

“It’s not a finished work yet,” he added.

The Grass Valley Downtown Association needs to come up with at least $70,000 to make Pugh’s vision a reality, said Howard Levine, the association’s executive director. He said an original $60,000 estimate needed to be bumped up at least another $10,000 because the project needs lights.

Prior to the fundraiser, $11,000 was raised, Levine said. He said he didn’t know yet how much the event bolstered the original contribution total.

Pugh estimated beginning the project by the end of the summer and finishing in the spring but added that it’s a complicated project that could take longer.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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