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Shipshewana to get decorated

The Walldogs are coming to Shipshewana next week. And in their wake will be left a series of wall murals around the town depicting historic scenes from the town’s past.

The idea for a visit from the Walldogs began a few years ago and area business owners worked to get on the Walldogs’ list as the group only tackles one town per year. Once the idea was brought to Shipshewana, the enthusiasm soon spread.

A total of 16 murals will be painted around the town, with sites including Fork’s Grocery to the north, a host of buildings through the downtown area including the Davis Mercantile, Morton Alley, Hubbard Feed Mill, Center for Traditional Arts and others, and then south along SR 5 including the Shipshewana Event Center, Shipshewana Campground, and Landmark Woods.

The murals will include scenes showing past Shipshewana businesses and notable citizens, offering an oversized glimpse into the town’s past. The subject ideas are sent to the lead artists, along with reference materials, who then work on the mural’s design.

Each of the 16 murals will have a project leader with other volunteer artists working under them. Overall, the town will be hosting over 180 artists.

Committee member Leon Yoder explained that the artists will begin Wednesday night by sketching the design on the wall after the sun has set. Then, starting Thursday morning, the artists will begin painting each scene, with the goal of being done by Saturday evening.

“They are being done in the old sign style,” Yoder added.

The murals will be different sizes, added Levi King, who helped to get the idea rolling several years ago. “The smaller ones will fit between windows, so around five by 10 feet. The larger ones will around 20 by 30 feet.” The largest mural will be along the south wall of the Hubbard Feed Mill.

King credits area businessman Dan Byler with keeping the idea moving forward along with the work of the committee that sought out the funding for the murals and the business owners who are allowing murals to be added to their buildings.

The town has been on the Walldogs’ list for two years. “We thought June 2014 was plenty of time to get ready,” King said. “And now it’s here.”

The town is looking forward to the excitement and interest the event will bring with it, not only as the murals are being created, but for years afterwards.