If you’re driving down Route 108 in Wakefield, you’ve likely passed the mural on the side of Dennis Moffitt Painting. Over the course of the last decade, it’s been covered with everything from crazy patterns comprised of stripes and polka dots, to a Patriots tribute that captured national attention. What started as simply a fun way to grab potential customers from the roadside has evolved into something bigger.
“I like to entertain people, to make people happy,” says owner Mike Moffitt. In 2006, shortly after they bought and moved into the building on Kingstown Road, they painted their first mural: Pumpkins in honor of Halloween. Every four to six weeks, they try to paint a new one; some celebrate a holiday or sporting event, some are humorous and others commemorative, and while most are painted by Mike or employees, some are commissioned out to muralists, companies, or community members. The only rule, says Mike, is that it must be completed within a day.
“It’s usually spur-of-the-moment,” he admits of the planning process. “An idea either grabs you and clicks or it doesn’t.” One such idea, which Mike cites as one of his favorites, was the Block Island Tunnel. “It’s a joke that when tourists come to town, they’re always asking for directions to the ferry.” So, they painted the entrance to this mythic tunnel, complete with an exit sign listing stops for Champlin’s and Ballard’s, and a $5 charge for cars.
While laugh-worthy pieces like these are popular, most recently, local news spotlighted DMP’s wall for one mural in particular. In March, a DMP salesman’s nephew, Aidan Mulligan, was severely injured in a car crash in South Kingstown. His friends and classmates decided to use “the most famous wall in town” for a show of support. The result was a vibrant message: The words “Aidan…You Got This” floating above a series of blue waves backed by a blazing sunset.
However, these murals aren’t the only example of DMP’s commitment to community. The third-generation custom paint business also donates their time and efforts to local families their own version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
“I want to encourage every business out there to use their business to make the community better,” says Mike. “It’s the way my dad raised me.”