Keep Knoxville Beautiful (KKB) and volunteers from Scripps Networks Interactive completed the “Big Rock Candy Mountain Mural” in the Downtown North area of Knoxville.
The mural project, which was designed and sponsored by Scripps Networks Interactive in partnership with KKB, began in late August in preparation for Scripps Networks Global Volunteer Day. Volunteers completed the mural painting in early October.
The mural commemorates musician and songwriter Harry McClintock, who was born in Knoxville in 1882. It showcases elements from his famous song, “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” which was written in 1928. The mural was designed by Paul Seylar, creative director for Scripps Networks Interactive.
“The Big Rock Candy Mountain is a song written about an ideal. And just like the song, this neighborhood has survived and remade itself over time,” said Seylar. “What could be more appropriate for a neighborhood? It speaks for a place where everything is good and right. We’re proud to serve the Knoxville community, where great things happen all the time, including again today in this neighborhood. At Scripps, we try to live by the motto ‘Live. Love. Give.’ and working on this project allows us to do all three.”
Keep Knoxville Beautiful staff and volunteers assembled the scaffolding, primed the building’s walls, pre-traced the mural’s outline onto the wall by projecting the design at night, and assembled the supplies. Scripps employees used a “paint-by-numbers” strategy, bringing the mural to life with spray paint. A small team of artists returned to the mural to paint the black outlines. Once the mural was completed, KKB volunteers returned to paint on a sealant in mid-November to protect the mural from graffiti and the elements.
“This will be the third mural our organization has helped to create, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Scripps Networks Interactive on it,” said former KKB Executive Director Patience Melnik. “Our community is really lucky to have this creative powerhouse in town, and we commend Scripps for giving their time and financial support to create something so eye-catching and dynamic for this neighborhood.
“Murals are vehicles for enlivening public spaces, bringing people together, and creating beauty – even on forgotten little corners,” she added. “Being a part of this collaboration goes a long way toward helping our organization fulfill our mission to make a more beautiful Knoxville.”
You can see a Facebook photo gallery here and a time-lapse video of the project unfolding here.