Imagine you live in a small town with limited resources but lots of character. You have old buildings that need a bit of sprucing up or entire streets that are wearing their age on their sleeves. The town looks like it’s on the cusp of being beautiful and it just needs an extra push to get that look it once had. With some extra life added to the town, you could attract new visitors, maybe even some new residents, and get some fresh blood into your home so more people can share in what makes your town so special.
Walldogs is a business and art collective that’s dedicated to that exact problem. Coming from all over the world, the Walldogs descend on a town for a short time and blitz a whole bunch of new murals for a town. They take old buildings and give them new life and, in turn, can help towns revitalize and start on a new path with a new look. Think of it as a new haircut but for an entire town, and it’s been a very popular service all over North America.
Here’s how it works: A town that wants to liven up their look contacts Walldogs. Walldogs sets them up with a project coordinator and event host who work with the city to decide on the murals, where the murals will be, and how many the town wants. The Walldogs then supply all the paints while the town itself supplies the other necessary materials. Then, over the course of a few days, the Walldogs come into the town, enlist local volunteers to help, and paint all the murals. Some towns turn the event into a festival of sorts, bringing in music and entertainment to help drum up support and excitement for the event. Then when it’s all said and done, the Walldogs leave and the town has a new set of murals for everyone to enjoy.
The Walldogs is a for-profit service but one that helps bring towns together and, compared to other revitalization methods, is incredibly inexpensive. Unlike some plans, which involve long construction, delays, and often times imported labour that divides a town rather than unites it, the Walldogs is about the community itself. The murals are designed with the town’s history at heart and people are encouraged to join in on the fun. The Walldogs themselves seem to welcome anyone that’s willing to “show up to an event with a brush in hand and jump in.” By uniting the population through art, and by using experienced painters as project leads, Walldogs can bring an entire town together and give it a new lease on life.
The Walldogs themselves are an art collective that are all passionate about murals and street art. Most of them own their own sign shops and do Walldogs as a special side project. The movement is now over 20 years old, with dozens of towns reaping the benefits. So if you live in a small town that may need some sprucing up, consider street art and consider the Walldogs.