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  • What is the Northwest MuralFest?
    The Northwest MuralFest is a five day mural painting event held in The Dalles, OR planned for August 24-28, 2022. It is being created in collaboration with the Walldogs, a loose group of mural painters that has come together in different towns all over the USA since 1993 to paint historic murals.
  • 2022? Wasn’t the Northwest MuralFest supposed to be held in 2021?
    Yes it was, but Covid 19 has caused our local event to be postponed by one year.
  • Who exactly are the Walldogs and how are they involved with our Northwest MuralFest?
    The Walldogs are highly skilled sign painters and mural artists dedicated to keeping the tradition of brush-to-brick sign artistry alive. We expect many of them, from all over the world, to come to The Dalles for this event to paint our town’s history and culture in mural form like they have in dozens of other communities across the USA.
  • Where else have these events been held?
    Most of the 30 or so events have been held in the east and Midwest and, most recently, in communities such as Streator, Illinois; Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and Keene, New Hampshire.
  • Have any of these events ever been held in Oregon?
    No, the Northwest MuralFest will be the first Walldogs event ever held in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
  • What are some of the benefits of having this event?
    Our Mural Fest will draw local residents and visitors to our downtown and community over the five days of mural painting. The event will also help promote The Dalles as an art destination and bring residents, volunteers and organizations together in productive collaboration. Along with the mural creations, we anticipate other contributors such as food, crafts and music vendors.
  • How did the Northwest MuralFest get started here?
    In April of 2019, David Benko invited the public to the Neon Museum where a short film about the Walldogs event held in Streator, Illinois was shown. This event has continued almost annually for over 25 years, and a group of volunteers had formed to bring a similar event to The Dalles.
  • Who are some of the local people involved?
    The event is led by The Dalles Main Street and committee members include local residents responsible for such areas as logistics, mural theme selection, fund raising, advertising, materials printing and housing and food for the volunteer artists.
  • How many murals will be painted and where?
    We estimate between 10 and 15 murals will be painted in The Dalles downtown.
  • Is there a contract with Walldogs? What's the commitment?
    The only contract currently in existence is between Main Street Association and festival Leader Pete McKearnan, a long time Painter and Walldogs participant of several years. Pete, along with David Benko from the Neon Museum, have been the driving force in the effort thus far, spending countless hours to make this festival a possibility, and will continue to work on the MuralFest through the event. The contract stipulates a total payment of $10,000 for Pete’s work. In addition each Mural will have a “lead artist“ that will also be paid. In addition, each Mural will have a “lead artist“ that will be paid a stipend of $3,500. The lead artists are paying their own travel, and the committee is currently working on providing them with donated room and board
  • How much will The Dalles event cost to put on?
    As the effort is still in its beginning stages, there is no comprehensive detailed budget yet. Other communities have spent around $125,000 to hold these events, and we believe that a similar or even smaller amount will suffice at our event in The Dalles. We think we can hold the Northwest MuralFest for a lesser amount because of the expected amount of equipment, supplies and other in-kind donations and discounts. Typical expense items include the Mural Lead fees, meals and housing for the artists, the Project Coordinator fee, paints, brushes, scaffolding, panels and printing. At this time, we estimate the hard cost per mural to be around $4,000.
  • How will money be raised for the Mural Fest?
    The committee is depending on local fund raising efforts. Several thousand dollars have already been contributed, and further efforts are being planned.
  • Are there any fees to be paid to the Walldogs organization?
    No, there are no fees to be paid to the Walldogs organization.
  • Who is responsible for fundraising?
    The volunteer Northwest MuralFest committee.
  • What are the obligations if fundraising is not successful?
    All promised hard costs to this point are secured by private donors.
  • How will the mural themes be selected?
    Four local historians have picked 33 different subjects for consideration and the MuralFest committee is considering having community residents vote on the final 10 to 15 murals to be painted. These historians have lived in The Dalles for many years and have sufficient knowledge and sensitivity toward the selection of appropriate mural themes that recognize local history and cultural diversity and avoid subjects that are either irrelevant to local history or insensitive to local cultures. This is a work in progress and the committee looks forward to collecting new ideas and input, both for additional new themes and additional facts on the suggested themes. The committee is also hoping to make connections with people and organizations that will offer new perspectives and ideas to contribute to the effort.
  • Are there any examples in The Dalles of the type of mural we can expect at the Northwest MuralFest?
    Yes, you can check out the Mural that was completed on the East wall at 211 E. 3rd St., just across the parking lot on the back of City Hall. It has a theme recognizing the importance of the cherry industry to our town. Several local citizens participated in it’s creations along side the Walldogs. Most recently, a second teaser Mural has been painted on the East wall near the corner of third and Liberty.
  • Who will be designing our murals?
    Typically, this is done by the mural leads, artists who have participated in other Walldogs events and demonstrated the necessary skills and expertise. This organic process has grown out of the experience of 26 years of Walldogs events. A mural lead does not only need to have the artistic talent to produce a great mural in a very short time, but also a keen sense of planning and leadership. Leadership and educational skills are key, as a mural lead will work with all levels of volunteers, from complete amateurs to skilled professionals.
  • Can local artists be mural leads?
    Absolutely! The Northwest MuralFest encourages local artist leads. Local volunteers to help paint are encouraged and needed as well. For the Northwest Mural Fest, local artists who are interested to participate as a mural lead are welcome to contact the Festival Leader Pete McKearnan for further information.
  • How are walls selected?
    This process is ongoing. At the current moment, 12 local property owners have committed their walls to the Northwest MuralFest.
  • What happens if a mural is not completed in 5 days?
    Walldogs muralists take their work and reputation very seriously. We feel confident that the same will be true for any local artists that are chosen to be Mural Leads. In past Walldogs Festivals, if murals have taken longer than planned, other artists have helped in the completion phase. In some cases, Mural Leads have stayed on for another day or two to finish off their murals.
  • What about kids? Can they be involved?
    The Northwest MuralFest committee is planning on a mural planned, designed and painted by children and families. More information on this will be forthcoming.
  • Public feedback thus far
    Public feedback thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, with almost 2,000 encouraging comments to the festival Facebook page.
  • How do I find out more?
    Here on the website! We have project information and available contacts. If you do not see an answer to any of your questions, feel free to email,
  • When does the Northwest MuralFest committee meet?
    The Northwest MuralFest committee meets every other Wednesday at 3:30 at Meadow Outdoor, located at 1201 Bargeway. The public is invited to every other meeting. RSVP would be appreciated.
  • Who designed this website?
    This website has been created and is managed by Simon Benko. For inquiries about website creation and development, you can contact him at or reach out to him via his website,
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