TERRE HAUTE —
Historic U.S. 40 will be the artistic focus of a Walldogs mural coming this fall to a building in Marshall, Ill.
The Marshall Chamber of Commerce is promoting a Walldogs project set for Sept. 19-22 in downtown Marshall with hopes of raising $10,000 for the four-day, five-artist mural.
Chamber executive director Jennifer Bishop told the Tribune-Star that the mural will sharpen the town’s appearance and increase the hometown charm of the community. And it is a forerunner of a much bigger mural painting project set for the summer of 2016.
“We thought this would be the perfect wall,” Bishop said Monday while standing near the mural site. “While people are out and walking around during the Autumn Festival, it will raise awareness of the big project in 2016.”
The inaugural mural will be painted on the side of the Genealogical Library, formerly Marrs Furniture Store at Sixth and Locust streets, just south of the Clark County Courthouse.
The Walldog project coordinator is Marshall native Scott Lindley — an artist who has worked on the mural projects since 2006 and was the coordinator for past Walldog projects in Arcola, Ill., and Danville, Ill.
The Walldogs are a group of sign and mural artists from around the world. They have painted around the country, and have attracted artists from New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
The tradition of painting wall advertisements dates back decades. Evidence can be seen as “ghost signs” on buildings around America. The original mural painters were often called Walldogs, and the current group adopted that moniker.
Lindley said he went to his first Walldog event in 2006 and got hooked on the art. On a project in Jacksonville, Ill., Lindley was doubtful that the project would make a difference in a small community that he originally thought would be better off bulldozed to the ground.
“We did eight murals,” Lindley said of Jacksonville, “and by the time we were done I thought, ‘Wow, this is a great town.’ It’s amazing how instantaneously you change the face of a town with a mural.”
And that is certainly what town leaders hope will happen in Marshall.
Bishop said the town’s mayor was among folks who were aware of the project in Arcola. They decided to see if they could attract a Walldog project that is historical to the area and will also attract visitors.
With the annual Autumn Festival as a target for the painting project, Bishop said the town leaders met with some Walldogs and decided to raise $10,000 toward the first mural. A larger 10-mural project is now planned for June 2016, and that will likely take $60,000 to $70,000 in fundraising, Bishop said.
Most of that fee goes to the special paint for the project, Bishop said. Regular exterior wall paint won’t stand up to the weather.
Up to 30 other local buildings have also been identified as potential Walldog mural sites, she said.
Lindley is familiar with the quiet Illinois community. He is a 1988 graduate of Marshall High School whose mother and stepfather still reside there, as does a brother and a sister. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from Eastern Illinois University, and he works as a commercial artist.
While this fall’s project will be on a small scale for the Walldogs, a multi-mural project can attract about 150 artists who will paint for free. It is the responsibility of the community to house, feed and provide supplies to the artists in exchange for the murals.
“What we do may take a single person a few weeks to do,” Lindley said of the single mural. “But this takes a group about four days.”
Because of the scale of the multi-mural projects, Walldogs can do only one or two events per year because they must take time away from their own professional careers. And, there is a waiting list.
“It’s an interesting process. It’s definitely worth looking into,” Lindley said, both for community leaders and artists who want to
“Once a year, I get with this group and it re-energizes me for the next year,” Lindley said. “I can’t wait to get on to the next project.”
The Marshall Chamber is planning its next Walldog meeting on Feb. 13 at the Chamber of Commerce building board room. The chamber has a fundraising thermometer sign in the front window of its office to show various fundraising points as they are reached.
For more information, or to donate to the project, contact Bishop at the Marshall Chamber of Commerce at at 217-826-2034 or email her at marshall.chamber
Anyone wanting to find out more about the mural painting project can go online to TheWalldogs.com or become a fan of Walldogs on Facebook.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.