After some research, including collecting representative photos, the artist team produced a complete plan on paper. The next challenge was to find a space large enough to accommodate the monumental work while the theater building was in full operation. In 2019, thanks to owners Ruth and Jim Metz, artists were allowed to work in the old Kornely building which is opposite the theater. Builder Roy Johnson built a frame for the canvas, the artists projected the drawing, and the painting began.
In July 2020, as the theater was closed due to COVID-19, volunteers Roy Johnson, Kim Doyle, Patrick Lutz, Phil Miller and Gary Taurick took the partially completed canvas to the theater where they took it. mounted on the entrance wall. As the artists found the time, they continued to paint, to work on the details. The mural was completed this month and can be seen through the large entrance windows of the center at 117 W. Maple Ave.
Dedicating the mural to the VanHarens, BDACT President Mike Derr spoke of the couple’s contributions to the community theater troupe over the past 50 years, starting with Roger playing a starring role in the theater’s first production, “Harvey”, and Marilyn playing a lead role. in his first musical, “South Pacific”. Roger VanHaren passed away in October 2019.
Derr called Marilyn VanHaren on stage.
“Thank you. What an honor for our names to represent the thousands of people who have participated in BDACT all these years,” she said. “Our names represent you. If only all of these names could be on one plaque, that would cover the whole building. “