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Washington Is Now A 'Walldogs' Mural Community

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio
The Walldogs work on their mural tribute to Washington founder William Holland on the north side of the Brunks building at Main and Zinser on Friday, July 10, 2020.

Washington is now a Walldogs mural community.
The Washington Historical Society commissioned the internationally-known collective of sign and mural painters to create a tribute to city founder William Holland off the historic square ahead of the city's bicentennial celebration in 2025.

The Walldogs travel to small towns across America, hosting festivals and painting murals. Jay Allen is a project coordinator for the Walldogs.

He said the group only visits cities with populations under 25,000 people. That includes many rural towns, or in Washington's case, smaller communities outside larger metropolitan areas like Peoria.
"It's difficult to get people to venture out of those," Allen said. "Give them something in the public art realm that's attractive and in this particular case, we also struck on the notion that we're telling a particular community's history."

The Walldogs mural was commissioned for the side of the Brunks building off the Washington square by the city's Historical Society.

Melissa Heil is executive director of the Washington Historical Society.

"We're able to give this beautiful gift back to Washington. And it's a gift that's not temporary. It's going to be there for 10 to 20 years, at least," Heil said. "And it's a beautiful piece of art, yes, but it's also kind of going to be a lesson in Washington's history."

The public is invited this weekend to watch the Walldogs complete their mural on the side of the Brunks building at Main and Zinser from a safe social distance.

Allen said it's not uncommon for people to come out and watch the Walldogs at work. The group has painted more than 300 murals in Illinois, and more than 600 overall, said Allen, including 10 in his native Belvidere, near Rockford.

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