LEWISTOWN - Dwight Kirkland's latest mural creation, "History of Theatre," has been the topic of discussion since July when he began the painting process. Area residents can still be seen staring at the mural from the parking lot of Juniata Valley Bank or slowing their cars on the square to get a glimpse at the side of Wilson's Gifts and Jewelry Store.
"The 'History of Theatre' mural is getting great exposure," said Jim Tunall, president and executive director for The Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau. "Dwight's work is starting to gain in local reputation and excitement."
However, what most people don't know, Tunall said, is Kirkland has done more than eight murals in and around the Lewistown area. Starting with the Waterfront Tavern advertisement in 2008, the Victory Park mural in 2010 and continuing with six more pieces, Kirkland has left his mark throughout the community.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Kirkland’s latest creation depicts the history of the local theater industry. A dedication ceremony for the mural will be held on Nov. 1.
"There's a lot of interest in Dwight's work," Tunall said. "And there's enough of them now that we can do something with it."
On Nov. 1, the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau plans to launch a Dwight Kirkland Mural Tour. The announcement will be made during a dedication ceremony for the History of Theatre mural, hosted by the Mifflin-Juniata Arts Council.
The self-guided tour will feature eight of Kirkland's murals and the accompanying map will include details about each one, Tunall said. The tour is a good way to continue growing local interest, but to also increase tourism in the area, he said.
MURAL TOUR STOPS
2. Victory Park
4. Burnham OIP
6. Logan Guards
7. History of
"We like to make our tours self-guided because it allows visitors to enjoy our area in their own time," Tunall said. "The tour is also a way to expose people to other businesses, landmarks and attractions as they go exploring for the murals."
When Kirkland heard the chamber was designing a tour of his work, he was deeply honored and found the opportunity incredibly exciting, he said. Having begun his career in Atlanta, the chances for recognition were few and far between, he said.
"When you live in a city, there's so much going on that people don't notice another painting on a building," Kirkland said. "It's hard to get recognized that way. But living in a small town, like this, makes it easier to give something, and they appreciate it."
In fact, the "History of Theatre" mural, which Kirkland donated to the town, is valued at roughly $50,000. However, the donation was worth it, he said, because it was a way to spread awareness about local history.
"Art is just another form of educating the public," Kirkland said. "I always get much more involved in a project than I expect."
For more information about the tour, contact Tunall at 248-6713 or email@example.com. The first walking tour
of Kirkland's murals will
be given at 5:30 p.m.,
before the Nov. 1 dedication ceremony.
The ceremony will be followed by a Gallery3West show highlighting Kirkland's other works. For more information on the gallery showing, visit www.mifflinjuniataartscouncil.org.