EPB dedicated 11 new community murals on the second side of its 10th Street Substation facing Foster Street on Thursday with a ceremony honoring the artists and community partners.
The 2022 mural theme is “Voices of MLK” to highlight the history, heritage and significance of Downtown Chattanooga’s Martin Luther King Boulevard area.
An outside group of community stakeholders used an anonymized judging process to select the following 12 artists that live or work in the EPB service territory based on their submission’s artistic value, community reflection and relevance to the theme:
Laura Dahlke – The Good Guys
Karen Estes – Voices of MLK: Fannie May Crumsey, Opal Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Viola (Ellison) Johnson and Lela Mae Evans
Jerome Foster – Fostering a Colorful Moment in Time
Ann Jackson and Mimi McAllister – All Created Equal
Madison Myers – Sandy the Flower Man
Dannita Noble – MLK Paved the Way
La-Tesia Poole – Mahogany Songbird
Rea Shaw – I Heart Chattanooga
Nathaniel Stepney – Remembering Booker T. Scruggs
Ty Swint – MLK: The Voice of Love, Peace, Justice & Equality
Sara Tolbert – Empress of the Blues
Several of this year’s artists focused their work on people, stories and themes related to Chattanooga history. Madison Myers, a second year muralist who graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in May, painted a portrait of the late Sandy Bell, a local icon who was known by many as “The Flower Man.” Bell passed away in 2019.
“For years Sandy would ride his decorated bike around downtown Chattanooga handing out flowers and smiles to complete strangers,” said Myers. “Many people remember their encounters with Sandy at local restaurants and bars, either from flowers they bought from him or just conversations they had with him. I’m proud to memorialize him with this mural. He was a very upbeat and generous man.”
A number of community partners made this project possible including ArtsBuild, Association of Visual Arts (AVA), Bessie Smith Cultural Center, City of Chattanooga’s Public Art Chattanooga, Chattanooga Community Kitchen, MLK Neighborhood Association, RISE Chattanooga, River City Company, The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
“In its heyday, Chattanooga’s 9th Street, now Martin Luther King Boulevard, rivaled the likes of Memphis’ Beale Street and New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, producing many famous artists including the well-known Bessie Smith,” said James McKissic, president of ArtsBuild. “I’m proud that EPB is continuing to honor that history through this public art community mural project.”
For the second year in row, 100% of the selected submissions were from minority and/or women artists, including some who are first time muralists.
“Public art that inspires and highlights the vibrance and diversity of our city is a key driver of Chattanooga’s quality of life,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “As we commemorate the Juneteenth holiday this Sunday, I’m privileged to join EPB in highlighting the talented artists who help bring our city to life through their work.”
This is the second year of a four-year project. EPB will take submissions to create a public mural on the third side of the substation wall in late 2022.
EPB serves the people of the Chattanooga area with advanced smart city infrastructure to enable world-class energy and connectivity solutions that include the most resilient smart grid power distribution system in the United States and the fastest internet in the world.
EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit epb.com for more information.