City plans to install a mural that will feature a Tennessee flora and fauna design

Published 1:45 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Officials with the city of Elizabethton plan to install a mural on the back wall of a downtown building.

Last week, City Council members unanimously approved a motion to ratify the mayor’s signature on a contract for the Tennessee Arts Commission Rural Arts Project Grant. The grant allows funding up to $18,000 for arts projects and activities from all disciplines that focus on community vitality and engagement in rural counties in Tennessee, according to Logan Engle, the city’s planning director.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The proposed mural will be painted on a 16-foot by 50-foot brick building built in 1940 at 547 E. Elk Avenue, which is located at Sycamore Street. The Watauga Property Group owns the building, known as the Evans Building, and the mural will face the adjacent parking lot.

The mural will feature a Tennessee flora and fauna design, Engle said.

Engle said Main Street Elizabethton’s Design Committee has been actively focused over the past few months on public art installations in the downtown area, specifically the creation of new public murals. She pointed to the success of similar mural projects in Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol.

The committee has begun identifying willing property owners and potential mural artists, as well as identifying possible mural themes.

In addition, the committee has been actively researching funding opportunities through grants. Engle said the research led to the discovery of the Tennessee Arts Commission grant.

Although nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply, Main Street Elizabethton is a 501(c)(6) organization rather than a charitable 501(c)(3). Instead, the city of Elizabethton applied for the grant.

To support the project, funds will be used to purchase supplies, rent necessary equipment and fairly compensate the artist. The total grant request for the mural was $14,500, according to information provided to council members last week. The total grant awarded to the city, however, is $12,200, according to the information.

Main Street Elizabethton is working with the city to select a qualified artist through the request for proposal process. Engle said this is believed to be the first time the city has used the request for proposal process to select an artist.

“It is our hope this project can be completed by spring 2024,” Engle said.

Prior to the mural being painted, the property owner will be responsible for pressure washing the building, according to the city.