Community shows strong support for the arts

To the editor:

The mural depicting the history of theater in downtown Lewistown was dedicated on Nov. 1 on the site facing the west wall of Wilson’s Gifts and Jewelry next to the Juniata Valley Bank. Members of the community gathered to honor local muralist Dwight Kirkland for creating and painting this massive piece of historic art, one of eight murals completed during the past seven years. Mr. Kirkland donated his services and asked that donations be made for the restoration of the Embassy Theater.

Jim Tunall, Chamber Executive Director, served as emcee, local author and historian Paul Fagley traced the history of theater in Lewistown, Mayor Deb Bargo presented Mr. Kirkland the key to the city, Angela Niman, Director of the Arts Council, talked about arts becoming a major attraction in the community and Jim Zubler, Executive Director of Downtown Lewistown Inc., expressed thanks for Dwight’s generous donation of time and talents.

The project involved many organizations, citizens and patrons. The research and design was a collaboration between Paul Fagley, Mayor Bargo and the Mifflin County Historical Society. Thank-yous were extended to the Wilson family for the use of their wall, the Juniata Valley Bank for closing their parking lot during the weeks of painting, Penn Equipment for the use of the lift with help from Sacred Heart Parish, Francis and Paul Stumpf, whose father was one of the Embassy ushers depicted.

Also, The Trolley Car Restaurant, Friends of the Embassy, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Community Partnerships RC&D, Sherwin Williams Paints, Ed and Cathy Forsythe of Ed’s Trains and the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau and Downtown Lewistown Inc.

Following the dedication a reception was held at the Mifflin Juniata Council of the Arts Gallery on West Market Street where an exhibition of paintings by Dwight Kirkland is currently on display.

A tour brochure detailing all eight murals by Kirkland is available at the chamber office in the historic courthouse, on the square, in downtown Lewistown.

Thanks to Dwight Kirkland and the entire community for supporting the arts in the Juniata River Valley.

Jim Tunall, Executive Director

Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau