UTICA — As part of Utica Monday Nite’s 25th Anniversary celebration, work is now officially underway on a 30’ x 50’ mural featuring “A Tribute to the Heydays of Downtown Utica Theatres.”

A collaboration among Utica Monday Nite, Rust to Green (R2G), and Player’s Theatre, the mural is being painted by local artist Maria Vallese of Retro Sorrento on the theatre’s north wall, at the corner of State Street and Mandeville Street in the City of Utica. It is expected to be completed in the next few months.

Utica Monday Nite founder Lynne Mishalanie wanted to create something memorable and long-lasting to mark the non-profit organization’s 25th year of supporting community art, as well as the positive economic and quality of life impacts it has on the region.

According to Mishalanie, the mural’s concept was developed in collaboration with, and financial support from, R2G as part of its Place Making in Utica’s Public Realm project, which was designed to inspire the community to collectively re-imagine and reinvent its public spaces. During a planned neighborhood unveiling later in the year,  Utica Monday Nite will document and share the history of the mural’s theaters that helped define the cultural arts in the City of Utica.

“There’s such a rich history of movie theaters in downtown Utica,” Mishalanie said. “We thought paying tribute to the downtown locale, and to an era and art form that was so deeply embedded in our unique history and culture, would make Utica Monday Nite’s 25th anniversary year extra special. The mural will be a magnificent addition to the Oneida Square Arts District and we encourage everyone to come view it in person.”

Vallese’s design is a re-creation of nine downtown theatre marquees, including The Stanley, Olympic, Majestic, Colonial, Oneida, Hippodrome, Utica, Avon, and Orpheum, along with their years of operation, which spanned from the early 1900s to mid-1950s.

Mishalanie founded Utica Monday Nite in 1997 with the intention of promoting the local arts while generating economic activity in downtown Utica by drawing people to the area with concerts, art exhibits, and walking tours.