Chattanooga, TN (June 16, 2022) - EPB dedicated eleven 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 twelve artists that live or work in the EPB service territory based on their submission’s artistic value, community reflection and relevance to the theme.
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 UTC 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."
The 10th Street Community Mural art project is one of the many ways EPB celebrates diversity and inclusion in Chattanooga, with our employees and the people we serve.
“We’re proud to continue our support for the community by working with local artists to feature murals that reflect the spirit of this historic area,” said David Wade, EPB President & CEO.
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 gained national notice when it deployed a community-wide fiber optic network accessible to all its customers and used it to launch America’s first Gig-speed internet in 2010 (beating Google Fiber by 4 years) as well as the first 10 Gig internet service available as a standard offer to all residences and businesses in 2015.
EPB also utilized the fiber optic network as the communications backbone for deploying more than 200,000 smart switches, sensors and other devices to establish the most advanced and highly automated smart grid in the nation. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy named 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. 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. Visit epb.com for more information.
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