Ligonier: City of murals
By Linda Lipp | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly
With nearly three dozen murals painted or mounted on building walls over the last eight years, Ligonier has become a city of murals that draws tourists to take self-guided walking tours of the urban art installations — and maybe grab a bite to eat during their visit.
The city’s Mural Society was an offshoot of the Future Ligonier Alliance. The group created an action plan for the mural program, raised money through donations and sponsorships and helped secure both buildings and artists for projects. Each of the murals depicts a time or scene from the area’s history.
“It has added a whole new dimension,” said Mayor Patty Fisel. “I think the whole thing is that each one of them tells a story. Not only do you have the advantage of having the artist and their own perception and their art and style, with every one of them you get a history lesson. It’s great for our schools. You can go to a library and look at pictures, but when you see it full size on the side of a building, it speaks with a little more volume to the kids.”
Like many other cities that lost the retail elements of their downtowns, Ligonier has been struggling to draw people back. The mural program, which is also supported by a facade grant program that allows businesses to get matching funding for murals on the front, sides and even the back of buildings, which will be visible from the growing Strawberry Trail, “has added immensely to getting our town restored,” Fisel said.
“It was just one of those things,” she added. “It just seemed like a natural fit for us, and as we did each one, it just continued to grow. We found more things to illustrate and to share with people about our community. It was just the right thing at the right time with the right people.”