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Shipshewana mural project kicks off

The Walldogs are officially in town and taking a running start at the murals around Shipshewana.

They are ready to paint the murals and have help from other Walldogs and community members, as well.

Debbie Karr, Walldog from Seminole, Fla., is one of the project leaders for the “Pletchers Horse Racing” mural that is located on the north side of the Trading Place Pavilion.

Karr talked about how it took a couple of months to come up with the mural and design, “You work on it, tweak it, get a couple people’s opinions, and then you tweak it again,” she noted.

The goal is for the murals to be completed on Saturday, but Karr said that if they didn’t make the deadline the Walldogs will stay around until the murals are done.

According to Karr the Walldogs are from all over the world, including Germany, New Zealand, and England. She mentioned how all of the Walldogs pay their own travel expenses and then the city provides food for them.

When Karr talked about the best part of being a Walldog, she was really passionate about getting to see the other Walldogs and how it was like a big family reunion of everyone getting to do what they really love.

“We love doing what we do, and we get to learn about each other’s talents,” said Karr. “You can’t learn enough when you’re on these trips.”

According to Karr, it was always a dream of hers to be able to paint murals and she has been doing it for over 20 years.

“I just happened across the organization and fell in love with it of course,” she said.

The Walldogs wanted to focus on giving everyone the opportunity to paint. There are years that they dedicate a mural for children to work on.

“There’s at least one person from the community working on one wall somewhere,” said Walldog Roger Adams, whose first Walldog trip was in Pontiac, Ill.

Walldog Ryan Allen, from Nashville, Ind., is participating in his second year of traveling and painting the murals. He is a sign maker by trade and said that he fell into the art and stumbled across the Walldogs.

“We’re out to enjoy ourselves and get away from the everyday humdrum of life,” Allen stated. “We get to see friends from around the country that we don’t normally get to see.”

The Walldogs are always thankful for what each community or city does for them when they are in town. “I do appreciate Shipshewana putting it on and providing the food and amenities. It’s a nice payback,” said Allen.

Community interaction and involvement is another one of the reasons Walldogs enjoy traveling to the cities.

“Everyone’s really friendly and they make it really enjoyable,” said Allen. “They appreciate what we’re doing and making it fun for themselves.”