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New Mural Celebrates Historic Roots, Achievements of Chilhowee Park 
Local officials cut the ribbon on the new mural in Chilhowee Park earlier this month

A new mural was recently completed at Chilhowee Park, paying homage to the venue’s roots in recreation, politics, culture and entertainment since the late 1880s.

The artist, Brandon Donahue, included many symbolic images in the piece to represent aspects of Chilhowee Park’s history throughout the years, including:

The park’s iconic bandstand
– constructed circa 1910, has served as a stage for many performers

Ferris wheel and concessions – represents the park’s most well-known annual event, the Tennessee Valley Fair

Smoky Mountains – the nearby geographic asset that led to the park hosting the National Conservation Exposition

Geese – A nod to the most obvious wildlife residents in Chilhowee Park

Native American dream catcher feathers – Hints at the cultural roots of the park’s name

Two magnolia flowers –  painted on the pillars in front of the tunnel leading to the Magnolia Avenue entrance

Street Car – a rendering after an original photo of the street car that once transported visitors between Chilhowee Park and Downtown

National Conservation Exposition crest – hosted in Chilhowee Park in 1910 and 1913, the National Conservation Exposition even attracted then President Theodore Roosevelt to Knoxville.

Hot air balloon – symbolizes the many fairs hosted in Chilhowee Park.

Mayor Madeline Rogero and Councilman Finbarr Saunders caught up with the artist, Brandon Donahue, as he was working on the mural in Chilhowee Park.
Mayor Madeline Rogero and Councilman Finbarr Saunders caught up with artist, Brandon Donahue, while he worked on the new mural in Chilhowee Park.

The project represents collaboration of six neighborhood associations in Chilhowee Park’s vicinity—Parkridge, Chilhowee, Williams Creek, Burlington, Beaman Lake and Holston Hills—who sought help from East Tennessee Quality Growth.

At the 2014 Annual Neighborhoods Conference hosted by the City’s Office of Neighborhoods, Jerry Caldwell of Parkridge approached East Tennessee Quality Growth Executive Director, Julie Graham, about bringing an amenity to the area that would highlight Chilhowee Park.

“We’ve been looking for ways to implement what’s known as ‘creative place making’ and this project provided an opportunity to do so while highlighting an asset that is so important to Knoxville’s history,” said Graham.

The neighborhoods and Graham strategized with City staff at Chilhowee Park, The Muse (Knoxville’s discovery center located in Chilhowee Park), and the Tennessee Valley Fair organizers to brainstorm a project that would both beautify the facility and commemorate the public venue’s historic significance.

Graham established a handful of grants and sponsoring partners to make the project possible, including East Tennessee Foundation, the Tennessee Arts Commission Place Making Grant, and the First Tennessee Foundation.

City officials are currently working on plans to upgrade Chilhowee Park. Graham says East Tennessee Quality Growth is still pursuing other place making ideas for the site, including “discovery signs” that they hope will attract regular walkers from surrounding neighborhoods.

For more information on Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center, please visit www.chilhoweepark.org.

Posted by On 22 September, 2016 at 3:44 PM