Local Artist Completes Restoration of Historic Mural at Eastman Gardens

Malorie Lebeau 08/28/2019

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK. August 28, 2019 – Local artist, Karen Krupp-Tremer, has put the finishing touches on the reproduced murals located in the interior of Eastman Gardens, the former Eastman School of Dentistry. Krupp-Tremer was initially commissioned for the work in 2016 when Home Leasing turned the long-vacant building into affordable housing for seniors. The historic building was on the inaugural list of The Landmark Society of Western New York’s “Five to Revive” program. 

Most of the canvas panels are six feet tall, covering approximately 694 square feet and spanning nearly 115 linear feet. The mural covers the upper section of the interior walls in the community room and library of the building. The paintings illustrate a selection of Mother Goose nursery rhymes and are based on various old photographs of the original murals created by Clifford Ulp, a local artist and friend of George Eastman. The old photographs, many of limited quality and quantity, were mainly acquired through the Landmark Society of Western New York and the archives at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Basil G. Bibby Library.   

Artist Karen Krupp-Tremer is locally recognized for her variety of custom-created works in various homes and businesses in the Western New York and the Finger Lakes area. She participates in a few selected art shows annually and is a past Merit Award winner for the Clothesline Arts Festival.     

“Creating various kinds of 2D and 3D arts has always been my passion from an early age. I admire and respect all forms of art especially many of the “lost arts” and have made it a mission to incorporate these techniques into my various pieces in an environmentally sensitive way. The primary technique used in the recreation of Clifford Ulp’s murals is an example of one of these “lost” arts with a history dating back over 3000 years but rarely used today,” says Krupp-Tremer. “Art is as much a technical skill as it is a creative one. The how of art has always interested and motivated me – you never stop learning. I enjoy working with clients in creating art they have helped to design so that it is unique and meaningful to them.” 

Krupp-Tremer, a lifelong resident of the Rochester area, says the majority of her art education has been self-taught with a hefty ongoing mix of diverse classes in various mediums. Her favorite subjects to create are animals and historically based recreations, making the Eastman Gardens mural a natural fit for her talents.  
In addition to the work being completed by artist Karen Krupp-Tremer, Eastman Gardens’ historic renovation included many other unique elements for which several preservation awards have been designated at the federal, state and local levels including the 2019 Preservation League of New York State’s Excellence in Historic Preservation Award. The original children’s waiting room included story book themed wood carvings that featured carved animal head brackets and wood relief panels surrounding the upper walls of the room.

The mural was re-created with custom moldings designed, decorative ceramic tile work restored and missing tiles expertly matched. The conversion required minimal change to the building’s defining characteristics and complied with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation that promote the long-term preservation of historic materials and features. Repairs and alterations to the building preserved original materials including bronze detailing, art tile mosaics, Venetian marble trim and brick. The exterior masonry was selectively repointed; stone trim elements were patched and cleaned. The six original exterior bronze doors and the plaster ceilings and mosaic tile floors defining the portico were meticulously restored. More than 200 original oversized wooden windows, each weighing over 60 pounds, were taken offsite, retrofitted with insulating glass, and refurbished with tape balances by the Rochester based Pullman Manufacturing Corp.