As many have noticed, a mural has been added to the back of the Student Center; but what people may not know is that these murals are all around town.
The murals were added by the international organization of muralists known as Walldogs. According to walldogsinkeene.com, Walldogs organizes a festival every year in which hundreds of artists go to a small town and paint a series of murals within a three-to-five day span. This June, these artists came to Keene for the Magical History Tour, a series of murals with the goal of expressing Keene’s history through art.
Owner of Prime Roast Judy Rogers and owner of Signworx Peter Poanessa played key roles as co-leaders of the Executive Committee Planning Team during the time it took to put the event together. According to Rogers, these roles include raising money, choosing subject matter, working with the city and many other things.
Poanessa said the idea came about years ago. “It started a couple years ago when we were coming back from a Walldogs festival and I just said to my wife, ‘We should do this in Keene,’ and that kind of got the ball rolling,” said Poanessa.
A big part of the project was making art that anybody could enjoy. “Any community should have art and culture, and if you can have art and culture that’s accessible to everyone regardless of demographic that’s the most incredible art of all,” said Rogers.
Poanessa shared this sentiment. “The Magical History Tour makes the world class art accessible to everybody, you don’t have to pay to go to a museum or travel anywhere, you can just walk in the streets. It adds a lot of life to the back alleys and nooks and crannies around town that maybe weren’t such nice places to be in,” he added.
Poanessa said there is plenty for students to learn from the murals. “I feel like it makes you think a lot about what people have done with their lives and makes you realize that there are great people all around us and that any of us can do great things. Most of these people on these murals are ordinary people from Keene that did extraordinary things,” said Poanessa.
Sophomore graphic design major Sean Keohane said he likes Keene using art to decorate the town. “As an art major I can really appreciate that because it’s often hard to get good projects out in the world, so it’s nice to see artists getting to do their thing with these murals,” said Keohane.
There are 16 murals all around town with each representing a famous person, location, business, etc. To find out more about the location of each individual mural, as well as the history behind it, visit walldogsinkeene.com.
Cristian Valentin can be contacted