TUNKHANNOCK, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Theaters are in the business of movie premiers but what’s now showing at a local theater doesn’t require a big screen.
As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller shows us, it’s what’s displayed on an exterior wall that’s drawing plenty of attention. Even on a rainy day, the colorful creation that now exists on the back wall of the Dietrich Theater is simply eye-catching.
“Yeah, it’s 22 by 24 feet,” said Bob Lizza.
The iconic mural of the Tunkhannock Viaduct which the borough artist created is not only big on size, but also detail.
“I enjoy the process of research. I enjoy the process of figuring out the best way to do it,” he said.
Mr. Lizza turned to a 1930s postcard of the landmark bridge for inspiration.
“It starts with a drawing to get the proportions right. So you don’t really lay any paint until it looks right. It looks proportionately right.”
That meant some counting for precision. Pointing to an image of the bridge he said, “There’s how many of these? You know, how many lines are in that? How many of these?”
Mr. Lizza didn’t paint directly on the theater wall. Since June, he’s worked in his 2nd Street downtown art studio painting on non-woven fabric called polytab or parachute cloth. He created 35 individual cloth panels roughly 40 by 60 inches each.
Mr. Lizza painted more than just the image of the bridge and its natural background. He worked the brick facade of the back of the Dietrich into his mural. He took weatherproof, concrete board and painted on them color-matching images of the bricks and cement.
On Tuesday, Mr. Lizza installed the first mural panel high upon the wall. He put the final panel in place the next day. The finished product looks like you can step right into the painted scene. The depth, color and shading technique Mr. Lizza used is called Trompe L’oeil which means trick-of-the-eye.
Dietrich Theater Executive Director Erica Rogler who formed a committee to hire Mr. Lizza said, “His attention to detail and creativity and just dedication to this project, we just couldn’t be more pleased.”
Replacing a blank concrete wall with what some may consider a mural masterpiece of Wyoming County history.
“I’ve been up to that bridge. I mean if you’ve been there, it’s amazing. I mean if I even came close to touching what people see when they’re there, then I’ve accomplished my goal,” said Mr. Lizza who will begin working next week on another mural which will complete the Tunkhannock Viaduct image.
It will be unveiled next year while a third undetermined mural will be featured on the Bridge Street side of the Dietrich Theater in 2021.