In the Spring of 2013 the City of Knoxville’s Public Art Committee, Visit Knoxville, East Tennessee Design Center, Central Business Improvement District, and the Arts and Culture Alliance came together to launch the Knoxville Mural Project. There had been public murals done in the past and, certainly, there were private properties where explosions of color and art would appear over time. But there was still a need for a unified approach to make something “big” happen.
Work officially began on the Knoxville Mural Project - the process of organizing and documenting Knoxville area murals in a central location, KnoxvilleMuralProject.com, for the purpose of creating a self-guided walking tour throughout city blocks where art seekers will discover our murals, explore our neighborhoods, and meet our artists.
To spark this campaign, Visit Knoxville volunteered the Knoxville Visitor Center building wall on the downtown corner of Summit Hill and Gay Street to create a large scale, public mural that would engage and celebrate the Knoxville community.
Five local artists submitted a design based on a concept originated by Visit Knoxville to show the diversity of the local arts, music, recreation, natural beauty and icons of the city in the form of a “postcard” that would spread the message that Knoxville, Tennessee is a beautiful place to visit, live and play.
The emerging winner was one of Knoxville’s most recognizable artists, Bobbie Crews. Her design embodies the vibrant energy of the town once described as “scruffy” in perception and elevates it to the charming Southern city it has become.
A team of experienced muralists has been assembled to take on the great challenge of painting a nearly 2400 sq. ft. mural. The team is led by Walt Fieldsa, seasoned artist and no stranger to the Knoxville mural cityscape. With the help of additional painters, Crews and Fieldsa will work together to bring the mural to life. Seven levels of scaffolding rising 50 feet high and 60 feet long will hold the artists as they paint on the wall. Passers-by already stop by and ask, “What is it?”
The answer is simple. It’s a celebration of our creative community and an investment in the arts that serves as a calling card to share Knoxville with people all over the world.
Share your own pictures of Knoxville murals on our Facebook page, Visit Knoxville and on Twitter using the hashtag #knoxmurals.