The restoration of two murals painted by Thomas Hart Benton is the latest step in restoring the Indiana University Theatre. WTIU’s Stan Jastrzebski has more.
Stan Jastrzebski: A team of specially trained art movers from Chicago will take down the murals, and transport them to the offices of art restorers, who will remove a protective coat of varnish from the 12-foot tall pieces of art and then carefully touch up the paint. IU Art Museum Conservator of Painting Margaret Contompasis says the process is similar to the one which restored the Benton-painted murals in the IU Auditorium.
Margaret Contompasis: There’s a tea, of people, when we did the auditorium Benton murals we had 29 conservators come from 11 states in order to complete that project.
Stan Jastrzebski: When the mural behind me is taken off the wall it will take 2-3 months for conservators to actually get it back to the shape it was when Thomas Hart-Benton painted it in 1932 then that whole wall will be taken down and those murals will eventually be put back when this space is restored and a new high tech project is put in.
The University theatre has been vacant since 2002, but will soon get a 15-million dollar facelift, including the addition of a high-definition movie projector designed to showcase and study classic films.