Knoxville — Soon, East Tennessee will be home to two new “Everywhere You Look, UT,” murals, aimed at raising awareness of the University of Tennessee’s impact across the state.
When the murals are completed at the end of this month, they will stand as the campaign’s fourth and fifth installments and two fresh reminders of the impact UT has on the state of Tennessee. Barns serve as the canvas for both new murals, one along Interstate 81 in Bristol and one on State Route 348 in Mohawk.
“These murals continue to serve as a reminder of UT’s impact throughout the state. Everywhere you look, UT is helping Tennesseans through agriculture, health care, research, education and so much more,” said UT President Randy Boyd.
The Stone family barn, just off of I-81 and near mile marker 74, sits on property held by the Seneker family since the 1800s. Passing through the family from generation to generation, A.D. Stone inherited the portion of the farm off Walnut Hill Road in 1927, and it has since been home to wheat, oats, corn, tobacco, hogs, dairy, beef cattle, chickens and even a family-owned grocery store. Today, his grandson, George Stone, oversees the property with his wife Marcia.
The barn will welcome those traveling through Bristol, as a campaign sign had previously for more than 22 years. Jason Mumpower, Tennessee’s deputy comptroller and former state representative for Sullivan and Johnson counties, first asked George Stone’s father, Paul Stone, Sr., for use of the barn to display his re-election sign in 1998 and it has continued to hang there since.
“It’s been just so special for the last 22 years to have my sign hanging on that barn,” said Mumpower. “It’s going to be a little sad to have the sign go away, but I couldn’t think of anyone better to pass it on to than the University of Tennessee and have the message of UT spread.”
The Stone family has multiple ties to UT. George Stone’s late brother, Paul Stone, Jr., graduated from UT Knoxville in 1967 with a chemistry degree and spent 32 years at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York as a photographic engineer. George Stone serves as assistant sports editor for the Bristol Herald Courier and has covered many UT Knoxville sporting events, including the 1998 National Championship game, which was played on Jan. 4, 1999. George Stone’s son, Mike Stone, graduated from the UT Knoxville College of Architecture and Design in 2017 and now serves as an adjunct professor for the college.
“When people see the mural, we hope they think of just what a big part the University of Tennessee plays in education all across the state, region and country,” said George Stone.
The Bristol mural is about 200 feet from I-81 with unobstructed visibility from the interstate. Information compiled by the Tennessee Department of Transportation estimates the mural will be seen by as many as 13.3 million people a year.
Just an hour south of Bristol, Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Hasty Douthat reached out to UT to have a mural painted on her farm in Mohawk, Tennessee, after seeing mention of the campaign in an alumni newsletter.
“I take a lot of pride in being a UT alumna,” Douthat said. “When people see the mural, I want them to think that we are a proud UT family.”
Douthat, a 1992 Herbert College of Agriculture graduate, was working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service when she met her late husband, Mark Douthat (UT Knoxville, ’89), after being hired by the family as a consultant. The Douthats have four children, Luke, Sarah, Rebecca and Jonathon.
The Douthat family is eagerly anticipating the mural and what it will mean for their community.
“I feel like ‘everywhere you look,’ really encompasses UT,” said Sarah Douthat, a senior at UT Martin. “Whether it’s UT Knoxville or UT Martin or UT Chattanooga, UT is everywhere in the state.”
The Mohawk mural, located at 6160 McDonald Rd., will be visible to as many as 219,000 travelers a year, according to data compiled by TDOT.
The “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign launched in 2018 with its first mural on a water tower in downtown Knoxville owned by then-interim UT President Randy Boyd. The 15-foot-wide by 30-foot-high water tower garners an estimated 6.4 million impressions a year.
The second and third murals include a Robinson and Belew grain bin in Sharon and the Van Vleet Cancer Center on the UT Health Science Center campus in Memphis, together totaling more than 4 million impressions each year. Historic buildings in Humboldt and Harriman were scheduled to be painted in April but were postponed due to COVID-19. Once rescheduled, these murals will be visible to a combined 6.2 million travelers a year.
Tags: Featured, Greene County, Randy Boyd, Sullivan County, UT Institute of Agriculture, UT Knoxville, UT Presidents