Coming to Delavan, WI – June 24-28th, 2015

Who are the Walldogs?

A large “pack” of talented artists that paint vivid murals

What is the Event?

The descending of these artists on our community for a four-day mural painting marathon

When will this occur?

June 24 through June 28, 2015

Why this Event?           

To tell the story of the history of our community through the eyes of these artists, on a media that will allow us to share this rich heritage with all those who visit us

How can I help?

There will be many opportunities to help out before, during & after the event.  You can donate monies and/or volunteer your time.  See the website menu to help you choose.

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Dear Walldogs

Dear Walldogs,

Delavan, WI is very excited to host the Walldogs June 24-28 of this year. Our community is waiting in anticipation to see how your creative minds and brushes portray our history.

Before I get you excited about our past, let me tell you a little about our present.

Delavan is a city with a population of over 8,000 people of which 29% are Hispanic, a little higher than Wisconsin’s state average of 6%! Their representation is found in some of the shops and restaurants downtown.

Our downtown, like many others, has changed dramatically after an interstate was built on the southeast part of the city. The interstate brought many new chain stores, and some businesses that were once located downtown moved to that Highway 43 corridor. This left our downtown with a huge decline in traffic, customers and eventually shops and stores. Now that all of these businesses are located outside of the downtown what could be done to get visitors to come downtown?

Through the years the downtown has tried different promotions and has pondered the question – How do you make the downtown a destination? The answer to this question is especially important to the independently owned and operated shops and restaurants that line our beautiful downtown. Unfortunately, many of those shops sit empty, abandon by the last business that thought it could make a go of it, and failed. It is scary enough to start a business, let alone where there is little foot traffic.

State road 11 runs right through the heart of downtown, so there is a constant flow of traffic. But how do we get those cars to stop? If more people passing though pulled over, perhaps we could fill these empty storefronts. We are counting on the Walldog created murals to make people stop and admire them, and maybe have lunch and shop in a store or two. So in a nutshell – our downtown needs the Walldogs and welcomes you with open arms!

About Delavan
I won’t go into every mural topic, but let me share a little about our history. Delavan was founded as a Temperance Colony in 1836. (But don’t worry, it didn’t stay that way!) The founders, Samuel and Henry Phoenix were abolitionists and very involved in the temperance movement of the time. When they found this area, which reminded them so much of their home in New York, they decided to settle here. They purchased 4,000 acres of land and started selling it to other like minded people back home. They even had it written into the deeds that no alcohol could be consumed, stored or sold on the property so they could guarantee that the demon alcohol would stay out of the town they would call Delavan after Temperance leader Edward C. Delavan. But by 1845, both Phoenix brothers had died, and the codicil they put in the deeds regarding alcohol was declared unconstitutional. So now, within a three block stretch downtown there are four taverns and a few other places to purchase libations. smile emoticon

Shortly after that, the Mabie Brothers found Delavan Lake to be a wonderful winter quarters for their circus. To be able to start traveling in the spring from here for their performances allowed their season begin earlier. Delavan would go on to become the winter quarters for more than 26 circuses from the mid 1800’s through the turn of the century, and also become the birthplace of the P.T. Barnum Circus. Delavan was bestowed the honor of being the “19th Century Circus Capitol of the Nation”, and Spring Grove Cemetery is the final resting place of about 250 circus performers. Juliet the elephant was buried in the lake when she died, but that is a whole other story.

Just after the turn of the century, the Art Institute of Chicago started holding summer classes here and our city has been the home of many great artists.

1930’s & 40’s brought some of the best big bands of the times to the ballrooms around Delavan Lake. Glen Miller, Louis Armstrong and Al Yankovic were only a few of the big names that were drawn to Delavan when it was a ‘Ballroom Mecca’.

There are so many other things I’d love to tell you about, but I have gone on too long already.

On behalf of the Walldog Committee and the residents of Delavan – we can’t wait to welcome you in person!
Delavan Walldogs

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Walldogs Mural – time lapse example

Downtown Kewanee – A Walldog Certified Community

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Another Walldog mural project

Take a peek at a mural being completed right now and learn more about the Walldogs.

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We have a WINNER!!!!

Behold – The LOGO!!!

News in My Walworth County


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Community Selected Logo to be Unveiled on Thur, Aug 15, 2013


August 7, 2013


The 2015 Walldog Event Coming to Delavan

Community Selected Logo to be Unveiled on Thursday, August 15, 2013

Delavan will be the host of the 2015 Walldog event. The Walldogs are an international group of sign painters, graphic artists and other talented individuals who reunite annually to entertain and transform a community with their special brand of artistic interpretation, entertainment, and friendship. From June 24 through June 28, 2015 these artists will be in Delavan for a four-day mural painting marathon, resulting in 18 murals that will capture the sense of nostalgia and historic significance of our community.

In preparation of the event Community input on the event logo was requested. The votes are in and one design has received overwhelming support from the Community. Was it “ Walldogs Unleashed” or “Greatest Walls on Earth”? Join us for the official unveiling of the logo to find out. When will it be unveiled – Thursday, August 15 at 6:00 p.m. and where will the unveiling occur – in front of the Delavan City Hall, 123 South Second Street, Delavan, WI 513115. Come join us and stay for an informational meeting on how you can help with this historic event. Hope to see you on Thursday, August 15. If you cannot make it but want to help, email us at

We need the community’s support and involvement to help make this 2015 project a success. Please join us on August 15th!

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Walldogs museum

The displays which are found at the museum tell the history of the early sign painters who created their art on the sides of brick buildings, barns, and other structures. Examples of those early signs can still be seen throughout the Midwest and, though faded, peeling, and sometimes barely readable, these “ghost signs” remain an important part of our collective cultural and commercial history.

The modern “Walldogs” work to preserve the techniques and artistic aesthetic of those early artists. The museum presents many historic and modern artifacts associated with the craft of outdoor mural and advertising sign painting. In addition to the permanent displays, there are drawings, color renderings, and other works of art available for purchase at the museum.

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