Thanks to the creativity and dedication of several East Knoxville neighborhood associations, a new mural was unveiled at Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center on Friday, Sept. 9.
This community-led project was funded by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the East Tennessee Foundation and the First Tennessee Foundation. Knoxville City Councilman Daniel Brown joined neighborhood association representatives, donors and the artist for a ribbon-cutting at the mural immediately following the Tennessee Valley Fair’s annual luncheon.
“Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center plays a vital role in this community as a gathering place for recreation and fellowship,” said City Councilman Brown. “I have many great memories of this park, which has served as the heart of this neighborhood since the early 1900s. This mural will provide great enjoyment to the local residents and guests that come to this facility.”
The project was put in motion when Julie Graham, executive director of East Tennessee Quality Growth, brought together neighborhood associations from Parkridge, Chilhowee, Williams Creek and Holston Hills, as well as Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center staff and The Muse Knoxville to brainstorm ways to improve the use and awareness of Chilhowee Park.
This neighborhood group developed the idea for a mural representing East Knoxville to be painted on a retaining wall at Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center. A committee of neighborhood association members selected University of Tennessee graduate and Nashville-based artist Brandon Donahue to develop a mural design that incorporated the history of East Knoxville and Chilhowee Park. The mural design was approved by the Arts & Culture Alliance and the City of Knoxville Public Arts Committee.
The mural was completed in late August and sealed for protection.