This month, artists will be coming together to decorate Westerly with a series of public murals. Bricks and Murals will be hosting the Walldogs, an international group of artists specializing in large-scale public art projects, in a five-day blitz that will bring stunning murals to life all around downtown Westerly and Pawcatuck.
Local artist and project leader Cam Bortz has worked with the Walldogs on projects in the Midwest, and is excited about bringing them to Rhode Island for their East Coast debut. For their part, the Walldogs are excited about a change of scenery. “They’ve been asking me when I was going to do something out East. They’re tired of looking at the same cornfields all the time!” he says. After years of conversations and planning, 14 murals depicting the towns’ history will be going up from September 13 to 17. Planned murals include a tribute to Westerly and Stonington’s long-running Thanksgiving football rivalry, Pawcatuck’s industrial legacy and the Great Hurricane of 1938. More than just visually appealing, these works will help to preserve and promote the towns’ local histories.
“I liken it to the same purpose stain glass windows serve; there’s a story in every picture,” says Westerly town councilor Jean Gagnier. “I love the history and the art, but in real ways it helps to cement a community.”