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Riviera Theatre mural completed after more than 20 years

The mural was abandoned in 1997 due to a telephone pole that was in the artists way and could not be removed.
Posted at 6:23 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 18:23:34-04

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — In 1997, the Riviera Theatre commissioned Western New York native and artist Tim Martin to construct a mural on the Southern wall of the building.

After months of work, they hit a roadblock - a telephone pole that was situated directly in the middle of the wall, or canvas, that was being painted.

"I thought it would never get done," said Martin.

The mural was therefore abandoned and left incomplete, with a gaping hole in the middle of the work. There it remained, for more than twenty years.

Old mural that used to exist on the site of the Riviera Theatre.

Since then the Theatre has been able to remove the power line - and within the last few months Martin was contacted yet again by the Riviera to complete the job.

"I was so glad, I really wanted to watch it go from beginning to end," said Dereck Heckler, the Design Specialist at the Riviera Theatre.

The mural was completed officially on September 6th, according to this post from artist Tim Martin. However, "no work of art is truly finished," he added.

It's goal is to harmonize Riviera's colorful past with its present. Therefore, it showcases Charlie Chaplin, the silent movie star and a frequent on screens at the Riviera during the 1920's - alongside a packed concert hall to represent the musical events they are now known for.

If you'd like to see the mural yourself, it is located on the southern wall of theatre closest to Tremont St. in North Tonwanda.

In addition, other works of Tim Martin's can be found via his website, here.