Illinois Adventure #1808 “Walldog Mural Museum”

Illinois Adventure #1808 “Walldog Mural Museum”


>>>WELCOME BACK TO PONTIAC AND THE FORMER FIREHOUSE CITY HALL BUILDING WHICH NOW HOUSES THREE SEPARATE MUSEUMS. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL THIS TOWN HAS TO OFFER. AROUND THE CORNER, ABOUT HALF A BLOCK DOWN, IS THE WALLDOG MURAL MUSEUM. BACK WHEN ADVERTISING DESIGNS WERE HAND-PAINTED ON BUILDINGS AND BILLBOARDS, TRAVELING ARTISTS BEGAN TO REFER TO THEMSELVES AS WALLDOGS. IT WAS NOT AN EASY LIFE AND SOMETIMES DANGEROUS BECAUSE OF THE HEIGHTS THAT WERE INVOLVED. THIS IS A SWING STAGE OR WHAT THE ARTISTS CALL A SIDEWALK. ONCE THEY ARE SUSPENDED IN PLACE, THEY PUT UP A PERFORATED PATTERN OF THE DESIGN. THEN THEY USE POWDER TO CREATE AN OUTLINE OF THE PICTURE TO BE PAINTED. ARTISTS WHO DO THIS KIND OF WORK CLAIM THAT THEY WORKED LIKE A DOG, HENCE THE TERM “WALLDOGS” ALSO ON DISPLAY IS THIS 1940S PROJECTOR WHICH WAS A NEW WAY OF SHINING DESIGNS UP ON THE WALL. AND THERE IS A COLLECTION OF ARTWORK FROM BEVERLY OUTDOOR IN CHICAGO. BUT DESPITE TODAY’S MODERN METHODS OF PRINTING BILLBOARDS, THE WALLDOGS ARE NOT GONE. THAT TERM WAS RESURRECTED IN 1993. TO PRESERVE THE ART AND TECHNIQUE OF WALL PAINTING, EVERY YEAR SIGNED ARTISTS FROM AROUND COUNTRY GATHER IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION TO PRACTICE THEIR ART. THAT EVENT WAS HELD HERE IN 2009, AND AS A RESULT, THERE ARE 18 NEW MURALS LOCATED AROUND THE DOWNTOWN AREA. SOME ARE FASHIONED AS FROM THE EARLY 1900’S, WHILE OTHERS RECREATE THE STOREFRONT OF PAST BUSINESSES. EACH MURAL HAS A QR CODE NEXT TO IT SO VISITORS CAN LEARN MORE. AND ON A COUPLE, THE ARTIST LEFT A WHIMSICAL TOUCH. WE ARE TOLD ON THIS MURAL OF ROZELL’S MURAL IS A HIDDEN MONKEY. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. CURRENTLY THE WALLDOG MUSEUM IS ALSO HOME TO THE SOCIETY OF GELDER’S MUSEUM WHICH EXPLORES THE ART AND PROCESS OF WORKING WITH GOLD LEAF. BEFORE THE ADVENT OF THE ROLLING MACHINES, GOLD WAS BEATEN WITH HAMMERS UNTIL IT WAS THIN ENOUGH TO BE ALMOST BE TRANSPARENT. THIS IS A BEATING STATION. THE GRANITE SITS ON A WOODEN PILING THAT WAS ANCHORED INTO THE GROUND TO ABSORB THE SHOCK OF THE BLOWS. HAMMERS WEIGHING 7 TO 15 POUNDS WERE USED. GOLD LEAF IS SO THIN THAT TEN THOUSAND LEAVES EQUALS THE THICKNESS OF A SINGLE DIME. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PLACES WE VISITED IN PONTIAC, CONTACT THE PONTIAC TOURISM OFFICE AT (815)844-5847 OR GO TO THEIR WEB SITE AT WWW.VISITPONTIAC.ORG.

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