Now that the Riviera Theatre is up to snuff, with millions of dollars of upgrades over the years, it’s time to reinvigorate the tattered mural on the side of the building. After all, nothing speaks of success stories than a restoration of the original artwork that is now mostly faded away.
“The ongoing mural restoration project is being done by local artist and muralist, Timothy Martin,” said Riviera Theatre design specialist, Derek Heckler. “Timothy initially began the mural back in 1997. Now, with a new direction and an eye for the future, the Riviera Theatre and Timothy have developed a fresh design that brings in some modern touches, including a concert scene – while paying respect to the theatre’s rich history and silent film era.”
Yes, the Riviera Theatre, built during the year 1926, was (and still is) ‘home of the mighty Wurlitzer organ.’ The organ was considered king, before the advent of the “talkies.” And like much of the theater building itself, the organ would eventually fall into disrepair.
In 1989, a small group of passionate volunteers, known at the time as the Niagara Frontier Theatre Organ Society (NFTOS), purchased the Riviera Theatre in order to save the building and her priceless mighty Wurlitzer organ (see the history).
Fortunately, over the years, there have been herculean efforts made to restore the theater back to its original grandeur. Seminal efforts to bring the theater up to date also include the restoration of the marquee in 2014, and upgrading the movie presentation infrastructure from film to digital in 2015.
And now it’s time to further focus on the building’s external “message” to passersby. Once complete, the mural will be a ‘reel’ showstopper.
Riviera Theatre | 67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda NY 14120
Lead image: Rendering of the mural restoration