"A Hog in Dog Heaven" attracts approximately 200 muralists
For 20 years, the “Walldogs”, an international group of signpainters and traditional sign artisans (or those who honor such techniques when outside their automated-production signshops), have descended on small towns throughout the Midwest and transformed them from sleepy burgs into vibrant manifestations of public art.
In mid-July, Kewanee, a town with approximately 13,000 residents in north-central Illinois, was the next in line to receive the Walldog “royal treatment”. The idea for the Walldog meet germinated at a January 2011 meeting where townspeople discussed ways to improve local commerce and tourism. Dianne Packee, a Kewanee resident who’d previously lived in Pontiac, described how the Walldogs’ 2008 visit to the city helped redefine downtown Pontiac. She even presented local officials with contact information for several Walldogs.
Approximately 200 signmakers, muralists and artists arrived to adorn Kewanee’s downtown with 14 murals that reflect a variety of businesses, events and individuals that have helped forge the town’s identity.
One example, painted on the Kewanee Historical Society’s building, depicts the Kewanee fire of 1942, which nearly destroyed its downtown. Another, which tips its cap to the former Kewanee Brewing Co., with a promotion for a fictitious brew, Prairie Chicken Ale, which refers to the town name (in the Winnebago tribal language, Kewanee means “prairie chicken).
Because, in this case, a picture is truly worth a thousand words, I think this suffices for exposition. Enjoy the gallery!
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