Civic engagement brought back the portrait of Marion Davies to the center of a Romanian city

A vintage advertising image of the world’s most famous soft drink reappeared almost a hundred years after being released in the USA on a central building in Arad, a city in Romania.
According the, the portrait of the young, blonde actress holding a glass of Coca Cola was painted on the side of the building from the eastern end of the Meţianu Street in the 1990’s, a couple of years after the company started business in Romania.
Marion Davies was one the most famous silent film stars and appeared in the ad campaign featured in newspapers and items like tin serving trays, boxed playing cards or jewelry boxes, sold now as collectibles the internet.  
The only pedestrian street in Arad was modernized four years ago by the city, but the shape of the wall painting, which became an unofficial landmark of the city center, worsened every year until not much of it has left.
In May last year the cultural website started an online petition joined by 669 people. The subject was picked up by the local media and a month later the Marketing Department of the American beverage company contacted the initiators of the campaign and offered to restore the painting.
Art collector Laurenţiu Cladovan, who owns half of the building, filled all the paperwork needed for implementation of the project and in December last year the City Hall issued the certificate of urbanism, allowing it.
He, and all those who worked to make this dream come true, couldn’t wait for the summer to start the restoration. One last important task was to find the artists who could reproduce the image and create a painting that hopefully will last more than the original one.
Sabin Chintoan is known in Arad as a teacher at the local school of art who decorated several public spaces in the city, along with his students.
Together with his partner, Cătălina Oproiu, they realized many projects in the country, including 3D floor paintings, wall and canvas paintings, art reproductions and urban paintings.
Their work was featured in exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles and at the end of the year will be exposed at the Spectrum contemporary art show in Miami.
The artists managed to remake entirely the vintage ad in only three days at the end of July, working at a height of several meters, under the summer sun and being watched most of the time by passerby.
“This ad is beautiful and it’s a nice addition to the image of Arad” a local woman said, most of the residents being proud of the wall painting. 

Picture 1: Making of… Credit:
Picture 2: The wall painting before restoration. Credit:  
Picture 3: The artists with the finished painting. Credit: Sabin si Catalina Art Facebook page
Pictures 4 & 5: Marion Davies Coca Cola memorabilia  Credit:,