Mural reaction mixed
Muralist John Pugh’s plan for the Del Oro Theatre’s outside back wall is either a rare, three-dimensional vision depicting past and present Grass Valley or a strange design not representative enough of the town’s history.
Talking to people Friday in downtown Grass Valley revealed a public opinion chasm that wasn’t evident at Thursday night’s unveiling fundraiser at the Del Oro.
To Jean Dalmau of Grass Valley, the mural should have been more deferential to the city’s mining history.
“Why don’t they do a big mine shaft so it’s in your face?” Dalmau asked. “I hate it. It looks like one of those green monster things.”
Pugh’s design features the Yuba River front and center cascading downward with miners off to the side descending into the lush green environment next to the river. The design appears three-dimensional, as if viewing through a transparent wall to reveal an unusual scene.
“I like the concept of 3-D,” said Dennis Gustafson of Grass Valley as he relaxed with a drink at Bunce’s Place. He said he thought the mural successfully combined the history of the area.
Lori Somers of Grass Valley wants to know what history Gustafson and other mural supporters spotted.
“There’s nothing historical at all in the mural,” Somers said.
None of the famous politicians who stayed at the historic Holbrooke Hotel are included and the mining is off in a dark corner, Somers said. “(The mural) should have something that brightens (the mining) up in a positive way.”
Rich Geiger of Nevada City said it’s time for a different perspective of Grass Valley.
“It’s time to move on,” Geiger said. “(The previous mural) was pretty pedestrian,” he said, referring to the “Heart of the Gold Industry” mural that was painted over during a theater remodeling in 2004.
“I happen to like that style,” Geiger said of the proposed mural’s three-dimensional appearance.
It’s not a question of liking the style for Angie Kelsey of Grass Valley. It’s more about what’s appropriate for Grass Valley, she said.
“It would look better in any big city but this is a historic downtown,” Kelsey said as she worked in the back of The Book Seller on Friday.
Pugh is an “amazing artist” but a design on the side of the Del Oro giving the appearance of a giant crack is bad, Kelsey said.
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. The organization has raised $14,600 so far.
The association needs to come up with about $35,000 before the project gets off the ground, Levine said.
To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion .com or call 477-4234.
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