Scenic artist for movie donates painting for Arts Natchez auction

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, December 11, 2013

NATCHEZ — Dana Beuhler came to Natchez two months ago and has been working hard to make the place look more weathered and dilapidated ever since — all for a good cause though.

Submitted photo — Dana Beuhler donated this painting to ArtsNatchez for their ArtTreasures Auction Saturday.

Submitted photo — Dana Beuhler donated this painting to ArtsNatchez for their ArtTreasures Auction Saturday.

The New Orleans resident has been in Natchez working on the production of “Get On Up,” the James Brown biopic being filmed in Natchez.

Beuhler is a scenic artist, whose work falls under the umbrella of set construction.

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The role of construction is to build the sets to fit the vision of the art department.

“Scenics describe any paint work in the construction process,” Beuhler said. “This could mean anything from painting murals to straight house painting. Most often, our job is to take new builds and age them to look weathered, dilapidated or gently used.”

Her favorite location work in Natchez has been restoration treatments at Nellie’s, the former bordello.

“We have heard many fantastic stories about the place from passers-by,” she said. “Working in a historic community can be challenging; often you need permission to make certain changes to a property in order to maintain the historical integrity.

“Old properties can be challenging for scenics because we often find ourselves matching our new builds to the existing age of the building. However, tying in the old with the new is something I really enjoy.”

When work is complete each day, Beuhler has continued to feed her arts passion by exploring the local scene.

She donated a painting that will be part of the items at the ArtTreasures Auction Saturday at the ArtsNatchez Gallery, 425 Main St.

ArtsNatchez Gallery treasurer Mary Ann Spell said more of Beuhler’s work would be hung at the gallery later this month as a featured guest artist.

Spell said Beuhler lit up as she explained the methods used in Natchez to make new things seem old.

“We were amazed at the lengths of creativity they go to in order to achieve the look,” Spell said. “Having lived in New Orleans, we loved hearing about her experience with creating Mardi Gras floats.”

Beuhler’s donated piece utilizes some of the things she has learned about aging things, such as painting the inside of Plexiglas to age the piece and give it more depth.

Beuhler said the Natchez art scene has been incredibly welcoming.

“I’ve visited many downtown galleries, and in every case the attendant has been enthusiastic about the work and eager to share information about the community,” she said. “I’m happy to show my support for ArtsNatchez because I love the idea of an artist-run gallery. I think the collective model is pretty progressive.”

Beuhler said many long days on set means her free time in the Miss-Lou has been limited, but she does already have a favorite experience.

“I had the most amazing Sunday brunch at The Carriage House,” she said. “If I could drive around and announce that over a loudspeaker, I absolutely would.”