Mural being donated, location sought

Hi Dawn,

An artist is looking for 8 installation sites across the U.S. for a series of murals highlighting biodiversity.

Knoxville is incredibly lucky to be on his short list for installation of a Hellbender salamander, a fully aquatic river animal that’s been called a "mascot of the Appalachians."

Hellbenders are affectionately known as the "last dragons" – and they’re found in clear mountain streams not too far from Knoxville. They’re a perfect match for our "lost river city of the Appalachians," and it’d be an exciting addition to our growing list of murals and the Knoxville Mural Project.

The artist’s vision is to find a neighborhood site with a good volume of foot traffic where people can see and reflect on the mural and endangered species.

The problem is, an appropriate installation site and partner hasn’t been identified yet, and this puts Knoxville’s selection for installation at risk.

I’ve wracked my brain over potential sites, and realized a great answer was practically under my nose:

The concrete retaining wall at the new University Commons development.

I love the site because it’s part of the most vibrant and dense neighborhood in Knoxville – and it’ll be visible to all of our UT visitors.

Plus, it’s on Third Creek – and visible from the Third Creek Greenway – any salamander would feel right at home at the creekside.

Along with the setting, I truly hope the wall will one day overlook a pedestrian bridge connecting University Commons to Third Creek Greenway and Ag campus bike and pedestrian traffic.

I’m sending an aerial photo of the spot – the location is in the bottom right hand corner (near the access ramp that could – and should – one day be a greenway connection over Third Creek to UT Campus).

I’m also sending one I took (from the ground), looking north from the access bridge to Joe Johnson Drive:

My initial thought is to contact the developer at CHM LLC independently, using the University Commons contact form at <>.

However, with the developer’s relationship with the city, I wondered if you might be able to introduce the idea, or introduce me to a contact with someone at CHM, LCC who might be receptive to having a colorful art installation on an otherwise gray expanse of concrete?

I feel like it’d be a great addition and tourism attraction for Knoxville and University Commons.

If you have a contact, I’d love to connect the developer with the artist to discuss the project and the vision.

I’d also love to talk with the developer about the possibility of a greenway connection!




About Tanner Jessel

I am a recent M.S. in Information Science graduate from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science. I was formerly a graduate research assistant funded by DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). Prior, I worked for four years as a content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Biodiversity Informatics Program. Building on my work experience in biodiversity and environmental informatics, my work with DataONE focused on exploring the nature of scientific collaborations necessary for scientific inquiry. I also conducted research concerning user experience and usability, and assisted in development of member nodes with an emphasis on spatial data and infrastructure. I assisted with research designed to understand sociocultural issues within collaborative research communities. Through August 1, 2014, I was based at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Posted on April 13, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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