CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (June 20, 2023) – At a ceremony this morning, EPB dedicated new murals by 10 local artists to its 10th Street Substation wall. This year’s murals illustrate the theme “Traditions on MLK,” which honors the history, heritage and significance of downtown Chattanooga’s Martin Luther King Boulevard neighborhood.
“Thank you to the local artists who shared their talent to celebrate the spirit of a community unlike any other,” said Chattanooga Mayor Kelly. “They join the rich tradition of the MLK neighborhood. Since the EPB 10th Street Mural Project began in 2021, these and other local artists have joined the effort to create works that enhance our city and serve as an enduring reminder of this special community’s history.”
The 10th Street Murals project is driven by EPB’s mission to enhance quality of life, with the goal of engaging local artists to transform this highly visible energy infrastructure into a canvass that reflects the spirit of the MLK neighborhood.
New murals cover the northeast facing wall of the substation between Foster Street and East Martin Luther King Boulevard. Artists who completed the murals all live or work in EPB’s service territory.
Jerome Foster’s mural hearkens back to MLK Boulevard’s origins as 9th Street, when it was referred to as the “Big 9.” Adorning his mural is a large “9” that appears to be encrusted with diamonds to represent the community’s value as a jewel for black entrepreneurs.
“Historically the area was an entrepreneur spot for African Americans,” Foster said. “This was the area that Black musicians and singers were allowed to express their talents. Ninth Street was the Harlem of Tennessee at one point.”
The project continues with the support of several community partners, including ArtsBuild, Association of Visual Arts (AVA), Bessie Smith Cultural Center, City of Chattanooga’s Public Art Chattanooga, Chatt Foundation, MLK Neighborhood Association, Memo’s Grill, RISE Chattanooga, River City Company, Stove Works, Hunter Art Museum, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
“The influence of the MLK neighborhood has deep cultural impacts across our community, from important civil rights landmarks to treasured musical performers,” said ArtsBuild President James McKissic. “Thank you to EPB for continuing to share space to preserve this diverse history.”
Several community organizations participated in this year’s application and selection process, which followed an anonymized judging process to select works based on their submission’s artistic value, community reflection and relevance to the theme. Participating organizations included ArtsBuild, Association of Visual Arts (AVA), Bessie Smith Cultural Center, City of Chattanooga’s Public Art Chattanooga, Chatt Foundation, MLK Neighborhood Association, Memo’s Grill, River City Company, Stove Works, Hunter Art Museum, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
“Murals on EPB’s 10th Street Substation truly represent a community-based effort,” said EPB President & CEO David Wade. “In addition to selecting only artists from our service territory, more than a dozen local organizations shared their time and expertise to ensure work authentically represents the MLK neighborhood.”
This year’s dedication completes the third side of the 10th Street Substation. EPB will invite submissions for public murals for the fourth and final side of the substation in late 2023.
EPB delivers advanced smart city infrastructure and world-class energy and connectivity solutions, including the most resilient smart grid power distribution system in the United States and the fastest internet in the world. EPB gained national notice when it deployed America’s first community-wide Gig-speed internet in 2010, later expanding the ubiquitously available service to 10 Gig in 2015 and 25 Gig in 2022. Ever committed to keeping Chattanooga on the cutting edge, in 2022, EPB established EPB Quantum NetworkSM powered by Qubitekk, America’s first industry-led, commercially available quantum network designed for private companies as well as government and university researchers to run quantum equipment and applications in an established fiber optic environment.
EPB utilizes its fiber optic network as the communications backbone for more than 200,000 smart switches, sensors and other devices. As a result, the Chattanooga area’s power distribution system is the most advanced and highly automated smart grid in the nation. This led the U.S. Department of Energy to name EPB a living laboratory for pioneering smart grid technologies. Since then, EPB has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and more than 20 other national research partners to play a critical role in more than $155 million in smart city research, earning such recognitions as the R&D 100 Award for its work to apply quantum technologies to securing America’s electric grid. EPB was also the first major power distribution utility to earn the GBCI’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid in 2015 and followed up in 2021 by re-certifying at PEER Gold.
EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939 and today reaches a 600-square-mile service territory that includes the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the surrounding area. Visit epb.com for more information.
We welcome journalists to contact the Media Relations team for information and news about EPB:
Follow @EPB_Chattanooga for the latest company news
We’re available anytime to provide customer service and technical support.
Click to gain access to the EPB Brand Central asset library.