SHIPSHEWANA — Shipshewana served as host to approximately 200 painters, collectively known as the Walldogs, from across the United States and as far away as Germany this weekend.
These painters, who volunteer a week at a time for each Walldog meet, gather to create larger than life murals on walls throughout a selected town or city. Formed in 1993, the Walldogs have hosted numerous meets throughout the United States, though the majority of their works can be found in the Midwest.
For their visit to Shipshewana June 18-21, the Walldogs tackled murals on the walls of 16 businesses throughout the town with themes of a bygone era ranging from the historic Davis Hotel to the Shipshewana Indians baseball team. The overall project, which was funded entirely by donations from local businesses and individuals, cost an estimated $75,000 and was spearheaded by Dan Byler of LaGwana Printing in Shipshewana and David and Suze Butler of Butler Design Agency in Syracuse.
Each mural, though predesigned by one or both of the project leaders for that mural, was created on the walls of locations, including The Davis Mercantile Building, Hubbard Feed Mill and Hostetler’s Store through the collaborative efforts of Walldog assistants and locals alike.
Doc Welty, the project leader for the Hostetler’s Store location, explained that each of the mural designs for any of their meets are created and approved prior to the Walldogs visiting the location and that very little will change once those designs have been approved. Once the Walldogs reach their destination, assistants and local painters meet with project leaders at the location and work begins. Typically, a Walldog can be expected to be busily painting from sun up to sun down, though as Welty admits that occasionally they do sleep in a bit, particularly when their travels to a locale have kept them up quite late.