(Beaver Dam) When Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre once again opens its doors at its new BDACT Fine Arts Center, 117 Maple Avenue, it will welcome its audiences with a huge “Theater for Everyone” mural that highlights the theater’s history and its many opportunities for participation. The design for the 23 x 5-foot mural, to be displayed in the theater’s entrance lobby, is a collaborative creation by BDACT artists Devon Cournoyer, Laura Congdon, Mary Colstad-Miller, and Roni Harper.
Inspired by a suggestion by then BDACT President Scott Eberle, the artists put their plan to paper last summer and then faced the challenge of where the work could be constructed and painted. At that time, before the pandemic, the Fine Arts Center had a full schedule of shows and programs. Not only were people continuously passing through the entry lobby, but there was also constant activity throughout the entire center for the building of show sets, rehearsals, meetings, and other needs. There really was no on-site space that could accommodate such a large project.
Fortunately, Dr. James and Ruth Metz, owners of the former Kornely building which is just a few steps from the Fine Arts Center, offered their space to begin the work last fall. BDACT carpenter Roy Johnson constructed and mounted several joined panels and the artists began sketching and painting. Then, a few months after they began, COVID slowed down the process, but they continued to work whenever and however possible.
More recently, when it became apparent that BDACT’s show schedule would need to be postponed until after December, the artists decided to transport the mural to the theater’s entry lobby where they could complete the work. So, a team of volunteers including Patrick Lutz, Phil Miller, Jim McMillan, Kim Doyle, David Saniter, Gary Taurick, Billy Petersen, Dan Doyle, and the artists, carried the giant canvas from the Kornely building to the theater where several took on the taxing job of mounting it to the wall. Now that the mural canvas is at its permanent home, it is visible to passersby who can safely view the work in progress through the lobby windows on the west side of the building.
Upon completion of the mural and following the reopening of the Fine Arts Center, BDACT will commemorate the mural to charter members Roger and Marilyn VanHaren in honor of their life-long dedication to the community theater. To see a video of the mural transport from the Kornely building to the Fine Arts Center, go to BDACT’s Facebook site. Other virtual entertainment, including BDACT’s new Reader’s Theater productions featuring community theater actors, are at www.bdact.org or BDACT’s Facebook site.
Caption: Artists Mary Colstad-Miller, Devon Cournoyer, Laura Congdon, and Roni Harper (not shown) began painting BDACT’s commemorative mural, “Theater for Everyone,” last fall in the former Kornely building owned by Dr. James and Jan Metz. The 23 x 5-foot mural, now near completion, will be a permanent display in the BDACT Fine Arts Center entrance lobby.
Contributed by: Annette Kamps