Painting on the 44th “Everywhere You Look, UT” mural began today in Strawberry Plains.
That adage and sentiment being painted in all 95 counties in the state is one that owner Steve Nash proudly embraces. The 1977 UT Knoxville graduate’s farm marks the second mural location in Knox County.
“The university has absolutely made my life more full,” Nash said. “It has enabled me to have opportunities that I don’t think I would’ve been able to have had. And that’s why I continue to still support the school.”
Nash’s 70-year-old barn sits adjacent to the Andrew Johnson Highway, which sees nearly 9,000 northbound travelers each day. The highway also has a rich history as it relates to the development of commerce in the state.
Nash was planning on painting the barn’s roof when a friend suggested contacting UT about joining the mural campaign. He quickly reached out to the university to arrange painting of the approximately 45-foot-wide canvas.
“UT is an absolute tradition for me,” Nash said. “The University of Tennessee is represented all over this state and all over the country. So hopefully this will get recognition and people will feel the same way that I do about it—a lot of pride.”
Nash has called upon the expertise of UT Institute of Agriculture’s Extension agents for his farm and veterinarians with the UT College of Veterinary Medicine when he rushed his bluetick hound, Knox, there for emergency aid.
“I knew he was in the best hands possible when they physically were there at the door to help get him in and get him into a room quickly and then get him into a procedure quickly,” Nash said.
The UT Veterinary Medical Center also has cared for two of Nash’s horses.
“That hospital is just a tremendous organization,” he said. “I’ve yet to ever encounter anyone who didn’t have positive things to say about it. They will do everything humanly possible for your pet.”
Nash also spoke highly of UT’s ties to the community—particularly UT’s connection with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and East Tennessee businesses. Nash said he is excited about the conversations his barn will spark about UT and is proud to be involved in spreading awareness for the university.
“It just seems that everywhere there’s success, somehow there’s a tie to the University of Tennessee, and it brings people together,” Nash said. “So many people that I meet from other states who are moving here, they’re hoping that their child or grandchild will come to the University of Tennessee. They’ve heard so many positive things about it.”
Knox County’s first mural in the campaign is located in downtown Knoxville on a water tower owned by UT President Randy Boyd. It will again be seen from Hall of Fame Drive as a part of the Smokies Stadium when it is completed.