Mural painter, David Naydock, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania recently completed the life-size, four-panel sequence that depicts Hershey in the 1920s.
“The Museum has always wanted a Hershey component in the main exhibition” states Curator, Jeffrey Bliemeister. “The white walls of our 1920s scene were the perfect area for this mural and David exceeded our expectations. He has really brought the area to life with his well-researched and beautifully painted mural.”
The project began over a year ago when the Museum submitted a grant application to Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Education Development (DCED) for funding to help finish this scene. The project was made possible as result of a DCED Grant supported by Senator Jeff Piccola (R-15) who realized the importance of this initiative after touring the Museum.
About a half dozen artists showed an interest in the project and three submitted proposals for review. David Naydock went the extra mile in his proposal, taking the time to actually research downtown Hershey of the 1920s and paint a small scale version of what he proposed for the area. His logic was that if he won the contract, the scale painting would then serve as the guide for his full size work.
“His two-panel painting amazed us with its accuracy, sense of perspective and overall realism; it gave us a clear picture of what we would get for our money and how this area would be transformed for our visitors, providing a beautiful period backdrop for the vehicles in our collection” says Bliemeister.
The Museum's decision to award him the job was soon rewarded. When it was time to write the contract, Naydock offered to paint two additional panels, which were not part of the Museum's original request, at no additional charge. These additions brought an additional dimension to the project and eliminated the last remaining “blank” walls in the Museum's 1920s scene.
The completed work encompasses four painted canvas panels. The first two measure 16 feet in height by 26 feet in width and come together at a 90 degree angle, along two walls. The subject is a three dimensional view of downtown Hershey in the 1920s. While most of the landscape has changed over the last 80 years, the Hershey Chocolate Factory and original bank (now PNC bank) are clearly visible, giving visitors two current landmarks for exploring the town. The size, scope and authenticity of the work are striking, a tribute to Naydock’s artistic talent and keen research conducted at the Hershey Archives and Derry Township Historical Society. The additional panels produced by Naydock are narrower, but just as impressive. Hershey product packages of the era and period advertisements complete one panel. The last piece is a collage featuring a center portrait of Milton Hershey, surrounded by buildings and attractions that were prevalent during the decade.
Included in the group are: the Hess Ford Dealership, Hershey School, Hershey Family Homestead and Hersheypark’s Comet Rollercoaster, among others. The four panels were hand-painted by the artist over the summer and fall in a warehouse he rented in Pottsville. The project was managed by Museum volunteer, Paul Herr who worked with David to insure accuracy of the content and a timely delivery of the finished work.
Naydock is a self-taught artist and mural painter. He has completed approximately 175 mural projects since 1983, 65 in his hometown of Pottsville, alone. The AACA Museum’s mural is his largest canvas work to date. He illustrates a wide variety of subjects but concentrates most of his energy on the people and places of Schuylkill County. He has over 2,000 studio pieces in private collections in the U.S. Europe, Canada and Australia. Examples of his work may be found at www.naydock.com.
Now in place, “Downtown Hershey in the 1920s” will remain a permanent fixture of the Museum’s main exhibition.
Those who would like to learn more about the research, design and construction of this project are encouraged to attend a special program at the Museum on Friday, January 15th from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Hosted by the AACA Museum and the Hershey- Derry Township Historical Society, along with presenting sponsor The Hershey Company, this event will feature a presentation by the artist and will serve as the official introduction for the mural. More information may be found at www.aacamuseum.org; advance reservations are required for the event.
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