Theater Works has received a visual arts grant from Thom Gyder, Peoria philanthropist and owner of Wilhelm Automotive.

A long-time sponsor and supporter of the organization (now in its 32nd season of producing live theater) and the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, of which Theater Works is the managing tenant, Gyder has commissioned the painting of a large mural, which will occupy the space on the northwest wall above the McMillin Theater.

The purpose of the mural is to highlight the various performance activities that take place at the facility, depicting backstage and performance scenarios, sets, makeup, sound, lights and the audience, and conveys the mission and the variety of Theater Works’ programming.

To facilitate the design and execution of the project, Gyder selected Maggie Dewar and R. Wall of Mural Mice Universal, a growing collective of artists creating public and private art whose mission is to cultivate a sense of identity and place through art. Each mural begins with the intention to transform a blank wall. Some murals depict history, some are fun and fantastical, others visionary. Past murals include “Community Reflections” at Bushmaster Park in Flagstaff and “The Sound of Flight” at Flagstaff’s Orpheum Theater.

“This is a generous offer and a perfect example of private investment in a public space,” said Peoria City Councilmember Vicki Hunt of the Acacia District. “We are proud of our artistic intent in Old Town and are grateful to Thom for taking this step. I’ve seen the artist’s rendering and can’t wait to see the mural in place.”

Progress of the mural, which is expected to be completed by the end of March, can currently be followed on Theater Works’ live Twitter feed (@TheaterWorksAZ). Members of the public are welcome to visit the center in person 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Editor's note: The date for the unveiling is scheduled for April 6.

TheaterWorks at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts is concluding its 32nd season of providing theater to the West Valley. 

Theater Works is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for children, patrons and artists to experience theater that inspires, enriches and enlightens through the experience of the performing arts. Peoria Center for the Performing Arts features more than 200 events a year, including: live theater, classical concerts, jazz, popular music, dance, comedy, cultural events, festivals, youth and adult education classes and more.

For more information, call 623-815-7930, or visit