“Nothing much has changed”, under normal circumstances, would mean things aren’t going so well. Here at Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater we work hard to keep things the same --- the same as they were in 1926. Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has helped provide the financial resources to help us restore two of the most significant and recognizable artistic details of theater, (inside and out): the beautiful oil murals that grace the auditorium walls and our entrance façade.
Three years ago, Swiatek Studios restored the distinctive oil murals on the East and West walls of the theater. The murals were dark and partially damaged after years of dust, cold and nicotine- laced smoke. After weeks of careful cleaning and in-fill painting, the fine details of the paintings began to emerge. With careful and delicate craftsmanship, the beauty of these murals, once again grace the Hollywood walls.
Our most recent restoration work can be seen by cars and foot traffic that travel up and down West Main Street. Sometimes hidden or dwarfed by our iconic Marquee, the upper entrance façade is another architectural accent that Swiatek Studios is re-discovering. Facing Main Street is a Typanum of painted brick work above a semi-circular arch with the name HOLLYWOOD on it. This original feature easily distinguished the theater as the centerpiece of the Gowanda Village Historic District. Over the past 94 years, the elements had taken their toll on the facade. Bricks were loose and cracked, paint was peeling and the wooden “HOLLYWOOD” letters were chipped and deteriorating.
Brick work on the façade began over a year ago but by mid –October temperatures in the area began dipping and exterior paint work was delayed till Spring. Spring 2020 came and went with most of New York State on ‘pause’ with the Covid 19 outbreak. Recently contractors have resumed work and what was a sad, faded entrance is now a beautifully restored theater façade.
The facade, as well as the interior murals, not only had the exceptional artistic skill and historical experience of Switatek Studios involved, but was made possible by The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo which was established in 1919 to enhance and encourage long-term philanthropy in the Western New York Community. The Community Foundation mission is: connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. For more than 100 years the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundations’ care. We here at the Hollywood Theater are honored to be the recipients of grants that have helped move this project and our community forward.