Outdoor murals throughout the downtown area were suggested in the Revitalization Plan for Ligonier. All the ideas and suggestions in this plan were to be carried out by volunteers. Volunteers Ruth Elijah and Betty Peterson were excited about doing murals because they had contact with Lake Placid, a city in Florida that has over 40 outdoor murals and had found them beneficial to their city. They talked with the people in charge and discovered they needed to start a Mural Society and have a vision statement as well as a mission statement. Their first meeting was April 27, 2007. Several people offered to help, but the working committee is Ruth and Betty along with much volunteer help in preparing and painting the walls before the artists arrive. Mural subjects had to be decided, building had to be chosen and then professional artists needed to be found.
Jerry Donley works to prepare the buildings along with help from Gary Clemons and Jim Mehl. Along with this financial assistance was also needed. Originally, 26 businesses, industries, individuals, and foundations were contacted. All of these contacts were interested and even excited about helping. One of the Ligonier Foundations offered a grant of $7,500 if it could be matched. After more contacts, the match was made and the first mural was completed that same year in October 2007.
There are now a total of 31 murals. Artists have been chosen from Bronson, Mich.; Winona Lake, Ind.; Goshen, Ind.; Butternut, Wis.; Kendallville, Ind.; and Albion, Ind. from the Dept. of Corrections at Chain O’ Lakes State Park.
The murals all depict historical places, businesses, and events. No tax money has been used for the murals. All money and time has been donated by local foundations, individuals, businesses, and industries, even to the bronze plaques on each mural.
Ligonier was honored when an anonymous donor offered to give four bronze sculptures to the city. Then another sculpture was donated by Jean Alber Ferrari in memory of her husband, Dr. Robert Alber, a former Ligonier dentist. Everyone was delighted when the city was covered with snow that some caring person put wool scarves on all 5 sculptures. The sculptures were made by Dan Hill of Ogden, Utah, and were installed by his son, whose name is also Dan Hill.