Irwin’s Lamp Theater wants to make the wall a masterpiece of art


Scenes of the borough and the surrounding area in large shadow boxes can be included in an ambitious plan to repair and beautify an exterior wall on the side of the Lamp Theater in downtown Irwin.

“We want to improve the building, so that it has a nice view,” on the wall adjacent to S&T Bank, said John Gdula, president of The Lamp Theater Corp.

Currently covered with wood panels and siding, the wall needs to be repaired, and not just for aesthetic reasons.

“We are losing too much energy,” Gdula said. There are gaps in the wall that need to be isolated.

A stucco-like building material, similar to that used on the facade of the building, could be placed outside, under any piece of art, said Lucien Bove, engineer and board member. of the Lamp Theater. Colored pigments or stencil work could be added to this stucco-like material, Bove said.

Placing new bricks along the length of the building would be too costly, Gdula said.

Before the pandemic, the board received a rough estimate that the project could cost around $ 70,000, Gdula said. They did not receive an updated expense estimate.

If artwork were to be added to the exterior of the building, Irwin officials would need to determine whether a sign permit would be needed, Borough manager Shari Martino said.

So that those who walk past the wall can see the artwork, Gdula said he discussed the possibility of making eight-foot-by-four-foot shadow boxes, but that would depend on how the art looked. if it was enlarged to that larger size. The lamp board discussed the possibility of lighting art with solar powered LED technology, Gdula said.

“We could go to a greener Lamp building,” Gdula said.

Artist interested in the project, Greg Gongaware, 49, from Larimer, said he plans to design glass panels that are part of a lantern, with each panel shown with a different scene, part of the Irwin town center and part of the theater. They would be inside the large backlit shadow boxes, said Gongaware, a 1991 Norwin High School graduate who focuses on American history and the Civil War.

An accomplished artist, he was a National Park Service salesperson who illustrated, designed and developed products for 125 National Park sites that are sold in Park Service gift shops and museums. Gongaware honed his artistic skills as a student at the former Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he graduated in 1996.

“It’s a great honor to be a part of the project in my hometown,” said Gongaware, who operates the historic entertainment station.

The first of what is expected to be many fundraisers for the project is a scheduled golf outing on October 18 at the Greensburg Country Club along Route 130 in Hempfield. Registration will be at 11 a.m., with a shotgun departure at noon.

The reaction to the first ‘Golftoberfest outing’ was good, said Andi Cartwright, theater director. Golfers will pay $ 130 per person and $ 500 per foursome. The exit of 18 holes will be capped at 100 participants.

The donation covers lunch during registration and a catering meal at the end of the event. Players will receive a certificate allowing them to return to play golf on any date.

For more information, contact Cartwright at [email protected], or 412-367-4000.

The Lamp will also apply for grants for the project, Gdula said.


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