City Council approves ‘History in the Making’ mural contract with ETSU graduate

Published 10:16 am Friday, November 10, 2023

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Buzz Trexler
Star Correspondent
A 2020 East Tennessee State University graduate whose artwork can be found on notecards and business fronts from Chattanooga to Damascus, Va., is on the way to painting her first mural in Elizabethton as the City Council put the final brush stroke on an agreement during its regular meeting Thursday night.

Council members voted unanimously to approve Caitlin Maupin’s contract for the “History in the Making” mural project at 518 Hattie Ave. at a cost of $5,400. The city uses the building as a surplus storage facility, and it was once home to a historic ice production facility.

“What a privilege it is to be chosen for this!” Maupin said in a Facebook message Thursday. “It’s exciting to be a part of this project not only as a muralist but as a local to Elizabethton. I’ve been painting murals in the Tri-Cities for a while now, but this will be my first in Elizabethton!”

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In June, the city applied to the Tennessee Arts Commission under the Build Communities Grant Program and was awarded $4,500 to develop the community mural project, which has a total cost of $12,700, including in-house labor. Maupin’s proposal was selected from three applicants after the city promoted the project.

“What I love about this specific project is that the community gets a say in what will be painted to capture the essence of the town,” Maupin said. “Murals can be a powerful tool for storytelling and community building. My passion for showing younger talent how to put one’s creative skills into a project like this is important for me as well.”

Maupin will not be producing “History in the Making” alone in that the resolution calls for her to assist with mural workshops on painting techniques and guide in project design and implantation with a team of 18-24 community members selected by the Main Street director and Design Committee. The project will include six murals on polyurethane Fypon panels created in a classroom setting provided by the City of Elizabethton.

“It will be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved!” she said.

One side of the building faces city hall and the historic covered bridge and has six blocked-up windows, which will be transformed into art showcasing the city’s heritage and community. City workers will remove the windows’ original steel framing and the remaining glass panes and carry out other prep work.