Visit Knoxville Mural Unveiled (and unscaffolded)

Visitor's Center Mural, Knoxville, July 2013
Visitor’s Center Mural, Knoxville, July 2013

Officially unveiled this past Friday, the mural on the side of the Visit Knoxville building has been taking form for some weeks. Conceived by Bobbie Crews and rendered by Bobbie Crews, Ken Britton, Walt Fieldsa, Curtis Glover and Randall Starnes, the project has been quite an undertaking. I’m guessing it is the largest mural in the city. Chattanooga, meanwhile, apparently has a larger one and should an appropriate surface present itself, don’t be surprised to see an even larger one in the future.

It isn’t the first mural in the city. I wrote about various murals scattered around the downtown area (mainly in the Old City) several years ago. Nor is it the first to be devoted primarily to music – the wall across the Old City Courtyard from Barley’s also features musicians, though in that case, it’s famous musicians from Knoxville History.

Winning Design for the Sixth Avenue Mural Project
Winning Design for the Sixth Avenue Mural Project

Another mural project in the news recently was a community-led effort in the Parkridge area just north of downtown. Dubbed the Sixth Avenue Mural Project, it brought together three different neighborhoods, Old North, Parkridge and Fourth and Gill in an effort to beautify an underpass which had a somewhat ominous feel. With the addition of the mural, the space became one to be celebrated.

I have to say I love the fact that the subject of the mural is music and the arts in general. It could just as easily have been UT sports and, while pleasing some local fans, it would have held limited appeal to those from out of town. I found a couple of out-of-town families looking at and taking photographs of it this past Sunday evening. A Michigan family parked in that parking lot and asked me if there were any nearby restaurants. I was pretty proud to walk them around the corner to Shakespeare filling the Square surrounded by restaurants and shops.

Visitor's Center Mural, Knoxville, August 2013

So what do you think? Do you like the focus and execution of the mural? Where would you like to see another and what would you like to see it highlight about our city? While you ponder that, you may want to give some thought to what to name this mural. If you think you’ve got the best name, you can submit it here and potentially win a “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” package which includes a two-night stay in a Knoxville Hotel and free tickets to various attractions.

If you haven’t made it by there to take a look, stop by the visitor’s center parking lot and do so.