Lauderdale County received its first “Everywhere You Look, UT” mural. This is the 43rd Tennessee county to welcome a mural in the statewide University of Tennessee System campaign.
The UT System has a goal to paint a mural in each of the state’s 95 counties by 2030 to remind residents and travelers of UT’s presence in their lives.
The Ripley Farmers Market building in Ripley, Tennessee, is the latest canvas in the campaign, showcasing a 40-foot-wide mural near the historic town square. It can be seen by more than 5,300 travelers daily.
“The Bank of Ripley constructed what looks like a barn with a galvanized roof to be used for the city’s farmers market and that’s where the location came from,” said Mayor and Bank of Ripley CEO Craig Fitzhugh (Knoxville ’72, Knoxville ’75). “It is at the convergence of the two ways into town, so it’s visible to folks who are driving in from U.S. 51 or driving through our main thoroughfare, Washington Street, which to me makes it a perfect spot.”
In addition to the campaign mural on the south-facing roof of the farmers market, a second mural promoting the UT Martin Ripley Center is displayed on the north-facing wall of the barn.
Ripley is home to the UT Martin Ripley Center, which offers a variety of undergraduate courses supporting bachelor’s degree requirements in more than 80 specialized programs, including criminal justice, education, history, interdisciplinary studies, nursing, political science, psychology and social work.
“We serve the evolving needs of diverse students throughout west Tennessee through theconvenience of our UT Martin Regional Centers and high-quality online degree programs,” said UT Martin Executive Director of Regional Centers and Online Programs Erica Bell (Martin ’96, Martin ’12). “We offer inclusive, quality education to dual enrollment, traditional and non-traditional students, thus empowering them to be engaged and active community members and the future leaders of tomorrow.”
Ripley and Lauderdale county’s communities and local businesses provide more than $50,000 in scholarships to UT Martin Ripley Center students.
“We’re really trying to change lives and bring access to these rural communities, so that they can grow,” said Bell. “My hope is that these rural students either go back home or they stay, and they support the local community.”
Since launching in 2018, the “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign includes murals in 43 counties across the state. Costs of the first mural in each county are covered by the University.
To learn more about the mural in Lauderdale County or to submit a location for consideration, visit the campaign website.