A new mural in Tracy City highlighting local history and the natural beauty of the area is almost complete. And, the mural itself has its own interesting history.
Prior to the demolition of the old library wing of the old Grundy County High School, six four-by-eight plywood panels of artwork depicting historic Tracy City designed to be used as a backdrop for a play were discovered. The panels were painted by Jack Baggenstoss, a local artist now based in Huntsville, Alabama. (Baggenstoss created the 3-D artwork throughout the Grundy County Historical Society.)
Emily Partin, of the Grundy County Schools Family Resource Center and Discover Together, says Tracy City Councilwoman Nadene Moore had long hoped for a mural in Tracy City, and this discovery provided the impetus.
Tracy City had previously received a Creative Placemaking Grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Funds from this grant were utilized to create the artwork and provide lighting for Tracy City’s downtown windows. Partin contacted TAC and asked if funds remaining from the grant could be used to create a mural from Baggenstoss’ set designs.
“They told us yes,” says Partin. “But, we had to have the mural completed in two weeks.”
Undaunted, Partin took a photograph of the original panels to Amber Brown, of Taste of Ink, who created modern scenes to surround the historical representation of Tracy City. Brown added mountains, a coal miner, and the Mountain Goat Trail, among other vistas, while still paying homage to local history and beauty.
Next, local artists were brought on board to paint the mural on the wall of City Hall. Carolyn Evey, Liz Brooks Gudger, and Georgianna Brown have used their creative skills to bring the mural to life.
Evey, Brooks, and Gudger have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to meet their deadline. Most recently, they added a depiction of Foster Falls.
“It has been so rewarding,” Evey says, of the creation process. “Every time we work, we have groups of people stopping and asking questions and offering encouragement.”
The mural is almost complete. Evey says she wants to add more detail to the forests, the Mountain Goat Trail, and possibly include a coal mine near the coal miner.
“The mural will be at the trailhead for the Tracy City section of the Mountain Goat Trail,” Partin commented. “While riding or walking on the trail, we hope folks will take time to get a photo of themselves with the mural in the background to commemorate their time in Historic Tracy City!”