Paint, Paint, Everywhere!

By Bonnie Schock

Nearly every surface inside the Sheldon will get up close and personal with a paint brush or roller during the once-in-a-generation renewal project that is currently underway. It’s a lot of paint (approximately 200 5 gallons, actually, just in the main house area), and an even greater amount of skill by the master technicians and artists of Conrad Schmitt Studios.

On the flat surfaces, a micro-thin fiberglass layer has been added, then primer applied, followed by paint. Hallways, curved staircases, sidewalls: the fiberglass sheeting helps to secure and protect the paint. Many will recall chipping, flaking, and peeling paint in many areas of the building. This painstaking process is designed to minimize such issues in the future. Because, we’re in this for the long haul at the historic Sheldon: #30More Years…and then some.

The master artists have completed work in the main lobby, and it looks simply stunning. Anyone familiar with the building will immediately notice a renewed luster and enhanced warmth, as the colors pop and shine. Painters have scrapped and removed peeling and faded finishes, cleaned and touched up (and in some cases completely reapplied) gold leaf on the edges of the familiar phoenix, rosette, heart, lion’s head and other ornate plaster work. Currently, the team is repainting and reglazing the vaulted arcade ceiling in the inner, horseshoe shaped lobby.

Lobby restoration in progress detail

Rendering of new balcony level decorative finishes. 

We are also pleased to announce that when the work is all finished, there will be a new design element on the balcony level inside the main house. For 30 years, these large walls on the second floor have had a comparative lack of decorative paint. Historical photographs reveal that this was not always the case. Indeed, those large walls originally had ornate finishes similar to the main floor in the days prior to the building’s primary use as a movie theater. With urging from stakeholders, Sheldon staff worked closely with the artists of Conrad Schmitt – experts specializing in historic theatres and churches – to consider solutions that could integrate the blank walls and utilitarian window shutters on the upper level into the larger look of the room. With scaffolding all in place to provide physical access, and qualified master artists on site and already under contract, this moment provides the perfect opportunity to resolve a 30 year old design challenge at a very modest cost. This just-right addition is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Bob and Wendy Behrens.

Lobby restoration in progress detail

View from stage.

The renderings shown reveal a draft look at how it will all come together.

Even through the inevitable mess of a construction zone, the shine of the Sheldon shows through in renewed ways already; and you can feel the building herself perking up, filled with pride, and eager to open her doors for the next #30more years and beyond.

See you all during the Grand Reopening 18/19 season!