Mural makeover |

Mural makeover

When the large mural across the back of Grass Valley’s Del Oro Theatre last needed an overhaul, the result was pretty much the same design with a fresh coat of paint.

Now, as the city landmark prepares for another restoration 27 years later, it’s unlikely the outcome will be anywhere near the same.

For nearly 30 minutes, community members at Tuesday night’s Grass Valley City Council meeting said they were ready to see the “heart of the gold industry” get a new look.

“What’s up there now is subpar. I want to see something spectacular and something that reflects a sense of history,” said Bob Crabb, an artist and resident of Grass Valley for the past 53 years.

Many community members expressed a desire to repaint the mural to resemble it’s pre-1976 design, though a photo unearthed Wednesday by The Union photographer John Hart shows that the previous mural was similar.

Still, there is desire for change, and one resident at the meeting even offered to help cover the cost of repainting the mural. Phil Carville, a western Nevada County developer, pledged $1,000 of his own money toward the project.

Barbara and Mike Getz recently bought Del Oro Theatre with the intention of restoring the historic cinema, which has been a city landmark since its construction in the 1940s.

Not one member in the City Council audience Tuesday opposed repainting the mural, although Vice Mayor DeVere “Dee” Mautino expressed some hesitation.

“Do you think Jack Keegan would mind if we repainted the mural?” Mautino asked the other members of the council.

Keegan, now deceased, was the former manager of Del Oro Theatre and was long associated with the downtown cinema by the community, Mautino said.

Ultimately, the City Council unanimously approved the formation of a committee to make recommendations for a new mural, and the community seemed pleased.

“I think it’s wonderful the council is open and the community is rising to lend a hand in this decision,” Grass Valley resident William L. Staudenheimer said.

“Hopefully, this committee will consider Grass Valley history and include themes that reflect the Gold Country in this new mural.”

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