In a year filled with sadness, sickness and anger, Jean-Marc Dubus is grateful to finish 2020 doing what he loves most – positively impacting people through his art.
Over the last three months, the owner of Dubus Studio in Bristol Borough has been brainstorming a larger-than-life, Bristol-inspired mural to be featured on the wall of Penn Community Bank’s local branch at 118 Mill St.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 10, the finished masterpiece was unveiled during a special, socially-distant ceremony. The project is an integrated part of Penn Community Bank’s public art program, which is supported by Raising the Bar – a nonprofit that works to promote the borough as a go-to destination.
“As a community-first institution with deep roots in the Bristol community, Penn Community Bank is thrilled to partner with Raising the Bar and host this amazing new art installation,” said Jeane M. Vidoni, president and CEO of Penn Community Bank. “We’re proud to truly be a part of the communities we serve and are committed to meeting the financial and civic needs of individuals and families across the region.”
“Bristol Borough is a special place to live, work and raise a family. We’re proud to partner with Penn Community Bank, a longtime part of our community, to provide this new mural,” said Raising the Bar president Bill Pezza. “We have long championed the value of public art. We’re thrilled that Penn Community Bank has come forward from the private sector to lead by example by sponsoring this project. We’re confident it will have a ripple effect.”
Dubus collaborated regularly with both organizations throughout the creative process to ensure the mural met everyone’s vision. The piece was painted on canvas at his studio, and now proudly overlooks the Municipal Parking Lot, stretching to about 20 feet off the ground.
“There’s nothing that’s going to block it in the future, so it’ll stay up for quite a while,” said Dubus. “I’m very happy.”
Included in the mural are a number of familiar scenes from the quaint town, including the docks and statue of Harriet Tubman. These views were painted atop a Bristol Borough relic that symbolizes the vast history of the area.
“The background on which it’s painted is a reproduction of a postcard. It’s a view of the borough on Mill Street looking onto Radcliffe. I think the postcard was printed out around 1910,” said Dubus. “I had to make some decisions in terms of design because in some areas, the postcard was not very clear. I sometimes had to figure out what was represented. But I knew that people in Bristol Borough would appreciate that view as a start of their history, the history of the borough.”
In addition to the Penn Community Bank mural, Dubus’ art can be seen at other nearby spots, including across from the King George II Inn and at Itri Wood Fired.
“I’ve been very busy in Bristol Borough,” he said. “I’ve been trying to help the small businesses.”
This desire to bring some life to local business districts isn’t anything new. While growing up in France, Dubus regularly painted Christmas scenes inside neighborhood shops around the holidays. His childhood passion transformed into a professional aspiration, and he graduated from the renowned École des Beaux-Arts with a fine arts degree.
Currently, the Langhorne resident has his art featured at Bristol’s Centre for the Arts and simultaneously works as a web designer.
As COVID-19 continues to rear its ugly head, resulting in a second wave of infections and closures, Dubus is using his craft to incite a spark of hope for not only himself, but all who view his work.
“I love painting. This is a lifelong feeling. When you finish a piece like the mural, which took a few months to realize, people see the result and it’s very rewarding in many ways,” he said. “That really allows me to see the future as brighter, and know that the next mural will be bigger and better.”
Visit jeanmarcdubus.com and facebook.com/DubusStudio for more information.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com