As someone who has been in the entertainment business for two decades, Elayne Brick knows the show must always go on.
So when the first significant rainfall in three weeks hit Upper Bucks late Monday afternoon and threatened to put a damper on the unveiling of a much-anticipated mural outside her Sellersville Theater, Brick was prepared. She quickly switched gears, moved everyone inside, and took the wraps off the mural via a short video she had taken soon after the mural was completed. Just in case….
“No matter what, if the artist shows up, the show goes on,” Brick told about 50 patrons who showed up for the reveal.
The artist who showed up was 80-year-old Domenic Falcone, a retired award-winning graphic designer who sketched the 40-foot-by-25-foot mural that now adorns the Temple Street side of the theater.
In some ways, the colorful mural is symbolic of the expansive economic revitalization the borough has undertaken over the past few years, with Sellersville Theater and adjacent Washington House Restaurant and Hotel as the cornerstone of the newly named Cultural District. The borough has about $80 million of approved development projects on the books, including a 70-unit townhouse project and a 236,000-square-foot multi-building industrial park. New businesses, including a book store, a rare coin dealer and gourmet cafe, have recently opened on Main Street. The vacant Sellersville Train Station has also attracted interest as an eatery or microbrewery, according to Stephen Barth, the borough’s economic development coordinator.
But the Washington House and Sellersville Theater are at the heart of it all. Together, they draw about 60,000 visitors a year to the borough. Brick estimated the theater alone has attracted 1 million customers since the late Leon Redbone opened the 300-seat theater with a sellout crowd in 2001.
“We have always wanted to create some type of mural on the side of the theater,” Brick said. “This seemed like the perfect time to fulfill that dream. We had reached out to the borough to help us find a muralist.”
In a serendipitous turn of events, a muralist appeared in the form of Falcone, who moved to Sellersville in 2021 and was looking to donate his time and talent in some way to his new hometown. Borough Manager Eileen Bradley suggested he design the mural.
From concept to completion, it took Falcone about a year to design something he felt captured Sellersville’s essence and the theater’s musical heritage. In a bit of whimsy, he included a small crack in a guitar to conjure up images of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
“This mural is a rhythmic reflection through colors and shapes, a window to the musical performances inside,” Falcone explained.
Due to its sheer scale and size, the mural required the services of Signarama in Lansdale to convert Falcone’s hand-drawn design to digital format, then onto a specialized vinyl material designed for rough surfaces. It took workers a little over three days to install the 18 panels that look like paint but will resist weathering for several years.
Signarama President Peter Naber said it was the largest mural his company has ever produced and predicted it will become a Bucks County landmark.
“You always want to be part of something this iconic,” said Naber.
Sellersville Borough and the Sellersville Theater collaborated in seeking grant funding through Visit Bucks and were awarded $5,000 toward the project. Additional support was provided by QNB Bank and the borough.