July 13, 2020 [Knoxville, Tennessee]— Work is scheduled to complete today on a new 12x50 foot mural titled “Windows to the Smokies” by Megan Lingerfelt on the side of the Lerner Lofts building in Downtown Knoxville. Located on the prominent corner of Gay Street and Wall Avenue, the mural brings architectural elements from windows found all over the city (including St. John’s Cathedral, The Oliver Hotel, and several other historic buildings) to eye level, inviting the public to experience the blue haze of the Great Smoky Mountains reflected in them. Support for the project was provided by Dogwood Arts, the Downtown Knoxville Alliance, and the Lerner Lofts Homeowners Association.
Lingerfelt has worked on a number of murals in Strong Alley and the greater Knoxville area. She recently completed the restoration of the Dolly Parton Mural in Strong Alley after it was vandalized. “Windows to the Smokies” is the latest (and largest) addition to the Dogwood Arts Art in Public Places Mural Program, now entering its second year. Megan is one of eight muralists that received funding to create new work during this spring/summer season.
The Art in Public Places Mural Program was established in 2019 to advance existing creative efforts in Strong Alley, transform unique public spaces in our community, provide opportunities for local and regional artists to create new artwork, and improve access to the arts for everyone. Dogwood Arts coordinates and directs this ongoing program in collaboration with artists, property owners, the City of Knoxville, and the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. To date, Dogwood Arts has funded the creation and restoration of 22 murals in Downtown Knoxville. Up to this point, efforts have primarily been focused in Strong Alley (between Market Square and Gay Street) which has been a popular canvas for artists and a creative destination for visitors and residents of the city for over a decade.
“Since 2012, Strong Alley has continued to undergo physical improvements, thanks to collaborative efforts between the City and supportive business owners. Adding walkway pavers and bistro lighting significantly improved the alley’s pedestrian experience, and with artists consistently creating new work in the alley, the space transforms dramatically making it one of Knoxville’s most popular downtown promenades and an Instagram hotspot.” says Kate Creason, Program Manager.
The Dogwood Arts’ Mural Program provides artist stipends to cover supplies, equipment rentals, anti-graffiti coating, and other needs related to the creation of new artwork or the restoration of an existing piece. Dogwood Arts accepts artist applications to work in the alley on a semi-annual basis; the next round of applications will launch at dogwoodarts.com on August 3rd and are due by October 5th, 2020.
2019-2020 program artists include: Cathryn Bozone, Tina Brunetti, Fawne DeRosia, Dawne Hawkins, Sherry Jankiewicz, Linda King, Lauran Lazarus, Megan Lingerfelt, Chance Losher, Sarah Moore, Jing Qin, Cody Swaggerty, Lacey Sutton, Lauren Ray Wagner, Dayna Walton, Stacie Williams, Gwyn Pevonka and the Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley.
Dogwood Arts intends to expand the program outside of Strong Alley, starting with Megan’s piece on the Lerner Loft building. Business or property owners looking to commission a mural are encouraged to reach out to Dogwood Arts for more information. Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to promote and celebrate our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty. For more information on Dogwood Arts, visit www.dogwoodarts.com or call (865) 637-4561.