Mural Restoration Project

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The Royal Oak Schools Murals Project - Preparing for the future, while preserving the past ...

Press Release:

10.12.2009 - "The Murals of Royal Oak" Wins State History Award
6.1.2009 - "The Murals of Royal Oak" Film Documentary Available on DVD
3.18.2005 - Royal Oak "Treasures" Team up with Modernism Exposition


During renovations to the then-Royal Oak Dondero High School in 1979, the historic Depression-era murals that had hung in the auditorium for decades were put into storage.

And there they remained for 25 years - in storage, out of the public view. Despite the old saying, however, out of sight did not necessarily mean out of mind for many history- and art-minded community members. In the spring of 2004, the murals were brought out of storage and a drive was successfully launched to restore them to their former glory. The three magnificent 11-by-22-foot oil-on-canvas paintings are once again proudly hanging in the auditorium of the school, which has become Royal Oak Middle School.

The Restored Royal Oak Murals: Hanging in the Dondero Auditorium at Royal Oak Middle School.The Restored Royal Oak Murals: Hanging in the Dondero Auditorium at Royal Oak Middle School.

A tremendous outpouring of community support has been the backbone of the murals project, not only in a financial sense, but just as important, in terms of time and caring that the restoration was done properly. The effort has been headed up by a school district committee, which has worked since 2004 to make sure that the murals can be enjoyed by community members, as well as history and art buffs for decades to come. More than $50,000 has been raised in private funds for the project; fund-raising continues to ensure that no dollars will be taken from the educational budget for the project.

Filmmaker Ruben Rodriguez of VideoWorks Inc. followed the work of the murals committee for five years, resulting in the one-hour documentary "The Murals of Royal Oak," which premiered on Detroit's public-television station, WTVS-Channel 56, in May 2009.