The 34th University of Tennessee System mural will have quite the presence from its downtown Madisonville perch. For the community, the painting is a welcome brush stroke in the bigger picture.
“These murals help small towns like us feel like we’re part of something larger,” said Alexis Watson, owner of the mural’s home at 328 Tellico St. “It’s a small piece to help our own community really feel like it’s important to UT and can share in its excitement.”
The mural’s canvas, a two-story brick building that encounters 1,989 passersby each day, has been owned by Watson’s family since she was just 10 years old. They had always talked of putting a mural on it, according to Watson, but the talks never came to fruition until she and her husband heard of UT’s campaign through a family member.
“The mural is going to be a huge statement piece for the town,” said Watson. “And that will hopefully bring new and exciting things to our community.”
The 20-foot-wide mural completed today isn’t just exciting from a community-wide perspective: it’s also a part of Watson’s personal bigger picture. In January, her lash studio and boutique, Honeycomb, will open shop in the building.
“It just feels natural to have the campaign be a part of the new adventure with the building and my business,” said Watson. “It all went together perfectly.”
To learn more about the UT campaign, each location and to nominate a canvas for use, visit the mural website. UT plans to paint one mural in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties by 2030.
The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Pulaski, Martin and Memphis; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT System manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 54,000 students statewide; produces about 13,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 433,000 alumni around the world.
1236 UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902