Downtown North to Receive New Mural

Volunteers from Scripps Networks Interactive will paint a mural in the Downtown North area of Knoxville on Friday, September 8 as part of Scripps Networks Global Volunteer Day. The mural, located at the corner of Bearden Place and Irwin Street, was designed and sponsored by Scripps Networks Interactive in partnership with Keep Knoxville Beautiful. Use of the building was donated by building owners SMJT, LLC (Segal Drummond, Mike Mangione, Joe Fox, and Tyler Fogarty).

The mural commemorates Musician and Songwriter Harry McClintock, who was born in Knoxville in 1882. It showcases elements from his famous song, “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” which was written in 1928. The mural was designed by Paul Seylar, Creative Director for Scripps Networks Interactive.

“The Big Rock Candy Mountain is a song written about an ideal. And just like the song, this neighborhood has survived and remade itself over time,” said Paul Seylar, Creative Director for Scripps Networks Interactive. “What could be more appropriate for a neighborhood? It speaks of a place where everything is good and right. We’re proud to serve the Knoxville community, where great things happen all the time, including again today in this neighborhood. At Scripps, we try to live by the motto ‘Live. Love. Give.’ and working on this project allows us to do all three.”

Keep Knoxville Beautiful staff and volunteers assembled the scaffolding, primed the building’s walls, pre-traced the mural’s outline onto the wall by projecting the design at night, and assembled the supplies. Neighboring businesses Holly’s Corner and Magpies Bakery will supply lunch for the volunteers. Scripps employees will use a “paint-by-numbers” strategy on Friday, bringing the mural to life with spray paint. In the following days, a small team of artists will return to the mural to paint the black outlines. After the mural is complete, Keep Knoxville Beautiful volunteers will return to paint on a sealant to protect the mural from graffiti and the elements.

“This will be the third mural our organization has helped to create, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Scripps Networks Interactive on it. Our community is really lucky to have this creative powerhouse in town, and we commend Scripps for giving their time and financial support to create something so eye-catching and dynamic for this neighborhood,” said Keep Knoxville Beautiful Executive Director Patience Melnik. “Murals are vehicles for enlivening public spaces, bringing people together, and creating beauty—even on forgotten little corners. Being a part of this collaboration goes a long way toward helping our organization fulfill our mission to make a more beautiful Knoxville.”

Keep an eye on this Downtown North corner as the mural’s bright colors bring this frequently travelled intersection to life.

About Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Founded in 1978 to help “clean up” prior to the 1982 World’s Fair, Keep Knoxville Beautiful is a local non-profit with a mission to promote a cleaner, greener, and more beautiful community. We pursue this by:

  • Educating students and the public about waste-prevention, litter, recycling, and environmental stewardship
  • Facilitating and supporting litter pickups that make our roads and local waterways cleaner
  • Creating and protecting murals and hosting beautification mobs to make Knoxville a more beautiful and interesting place to live and visit

During 2016-2017, we

  • Facilitated or supported 61 litter pickups
  • Collected 55,615 pounds of litter
  • Planted 18,000+ daffodil and tulip bulbs
  • Reached 1,255 kids with our presentations
  • Used our recycling trailer and recycling bins to provide recycling for 10 large events
  • Worked with 1,542 volunteers
  • Facilitated 4,108 volunteer hours

To learn more about Keep Knoxville Beautiful, visit

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