HOLYOKE — The Victory Theatre has announced its historic murals restoration project is complete, another key step in bringing the theater closer to its eventual reopening.

MIFA Executive Artistic Director Don Sanders told Reminder Publishing the murals have been “a tremendous rallying point” for the Victory Theatre’s work towards reopening. When first seeing the restored pieces through a Wistariahurst Museum exhibition last fall, Sanders said it was one of those moments of joy that signaled to him things continue to be on the right track.

“I burst into tears at the opening of that exhibition because I realized that it meant that I really felt the Victory is going to open. I always wanted it to open, have always been working for it to open, but there was something about the actual visual depiction of good triumphing over darkness that made me feel this is really going to happen,” Sanders said. “I spent so much time in the real world trying to get this done that there’s something nice about having a poetic dimension.

After a damaging fire in 1942, the Victory Theatre’s interior was refreshed by noted Italian American New York Artist Vincent Maragliotti, who supervised the decorative interior treatment as part of the renowned Works Progress Administration project. Maragliotti’s two murals depicting war and victory were created when the outcome of WWII was in no way certain, and an integral historical part of the proscenium and the Victory’s stage surround recognized as such by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Expert restorationists EverGreene Architectural Arts of New York City fully restored the two 23-foot-tall Vincent Maragliotti WPA murals on April 8. The team moved the murals back to Holyoke after implementing and overseeing their protective storage where they will await reinstallation.

EverGreene Architectural Arts serves as an expert in historic preservation, restoration and design. Established in 1978, EverGreene has provided design, restoration and conservation services for some of the most significant art, architecture and artifacts across the country.

MIFA raised funds from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, the Beveridge Foundation, Friends of MIFA Victory Theatre and funds in part from the Citizens of Holyoke, MA through the Community Preservation Act to complete this $400,000 project.

“What a wonderful achievement for MIFA and the city of Holyoke. A significant piece of the city’s history has been preserved for future generations. The mural restoration represents a terrific cooperation between MIFA and the Community Preservation Act Committee, among other donors, and a special shoutout should go to Kip Foley and Meagan Magrath Smith [CPA Committee members] and their committees, and to Michael J. Sullivan for making this happen,” Sanders said.

Sanders added that a future public exhibition for the completed murals is in development and for those interested to stay tuned for more news.

In the meantime, work will continue on the reopening of the historic Victory Theatre and Sanders added that they are looking at June 2026 for when the theater will be ready to open.

tlevakis@thereminder.com | + posts