Website alert: Christine Hadsel's prizewinning book, Suspended Worlds: Historic Theater Scenery in Northern New England, has just introduced me to a whole category of Americana: the big theater curtains that could be rolled down in town halls, granges, and opera houses for live performances in the period just before the movies. This could be invaluable for a story set in small town in, say—1908! You can see lots of examples and learn about them at Hadsel's website Curtains without Borders.
It's worth noting that a few of the artists were women, including Marion Rhoades Fracher, Helen Tooker, and Lura Wells. A little nformation about each can be found at the Curtains Without Borders' Index of Artists and Studios. Art historians: there is more work to be done. Historical fiction writers: feel free to make up a character!
As I write, moreover, the book is on sale for half price by the publisher, Godine.