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Original artist of Belton Dam mural steps up to repair graffiti damage

Posted at 5:22 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 18:36:31-05

BELTON, Texas — If you have ever driven over the Belton dam, you may have noticed things like the fence covered in locks or the historic mural that spans hundreds of feet along the dam.

The mural was designed by local artist Rudy Calooy when he was a college student in the 1970s and thousands of people helped bring his vision to life.

”Every time that we had paint delivered to us, we would put a blurb in the paper saying come out and help us pant on Saturday at 10 o’clock," said Rudy Calooy Jr., local artist and designer of the Belton dam mural. "We had hundreds literally, we had a cast of thousands.”

They spent over a year and a half painting the mural that depicts the history of Bell County.

Calooy is determined to repair part of Belton’s history.

“This belongs to the public," said Calooy. "I may have designed it but, we invited the public to come help fill it in. It was tagged as the biggest coloring book in Texas at the time.”

Now that Rudy has gotten approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the damage, they are excited to see him get to work.

”I think it’s really cool that it has come full circle and that he is able to keep working on it,” said Madison Wetterstroem, park ranger.

Local businesses are pitching in to help with supplies. Others, like Texas Prowash, are donating time and services to the cause.

”I’d actually been looking for the opportunity to help and didn’t know exactly who to get ahold of," said Craig Mcgehee, owner of Texas Prowash. "So, we were actually pleasantly surprised whenever we found out that they needed the help.

Just like in 1978, the community is coming together with a common goal of beauty and art for all to see.

”Yeah, this is all about trying to restore it to its former glory,” said Calooy.

If the weather cooperates, the damaged section of the mural should be back to its former glory in less than a week.