Cultural Arts Murfreesboro, community volunteers paint mural on Broad Street Greenway underpass

Photos by Connor Burnard / Senior Multimedia Reporter

Community volunteers painted a mural with cheerful colors on Saturday in the once gloomy Greenway underpass on Broad Street.

Cultural Arts Murfreesboro along with the Friends of the Greenway Committee planned the community beautification event. Cultural Arts Murfreesboro is a government organization that encourages community involvement in music and the arts.

Pam Williams is the cultural arts coordinator for Cultural Arts Murfreesboro. This was her first year organizing a community-made mural.

“We did a mural in the Patterson Park Community Center where the kids got to lead it, but, for this one, we’ll be reaching out to the community to make this mural,” Williams said.

The underpass on Broad Street was selected for a revamped look due to its unappealing and dark nature. Lights were set up to make the painting process easier for attendees.

“We selected this location because it is probably one of the least popular sections of the Greenway, and we wanted it to feel safer and happier. On top of painting a mural, we’re working towards adding more lighting in that section,” Williams said.

Preparations were made on the wall to counteract potential graffiti. If the wall were to get vandalized, it could be washed off without harming the mural.

While event planning was underway, Cultural Arts Murfreesboro asked the community for mural design ideas via the event’s Facebook page. Event goers submitted their ideas for the different images that would appear in the mural. These ideas were then assembled into five different mural designs, which were voted on by the Friends of the Greenway Committee.

After narrowing the design choices down, community participants were asked to choose their favorite design through Facebook. The final design chosen by the community was by Greenway Specialist Lisa Browning.

The mural itself was eight-and-a-half feet tall and 175 feet wide. Volunteers were given paintbrushes, paint and a number that corresponded to the section of the mural that required their paint color.

Michael McGoffin, a visual arts teacher at Siegel High School, brought some of his students to volunteer.

“We’re locals, and we’re just giving back to the community. If you show me a vibrant art community, I’m going to show you a vibrant community,” McGoffin said. “I’m a strong believer in that. So, any time that we can participate in things like this, we make a better community.”

After painting, volunteers were allotted a space to print their hands with paint onto the mural.

“We wanted this mural to really belong to the community, which is why we’re having them to come out and help us paint it,” said Mai Hamric, a cultural arts specialist for Cultural Arts Murfreesboro. “We wanted them to have some way to sign their names to the mural in a way.”

Randle Branch, a member of Friends of the Greenway, participated in the painting of the mural.

“My favorite part is what the mural does. This was a place that people were fearful of and wanted to avoid. Now, it will be a place where people would want to go,” Branch said. “It’s just like going on the river. If you get people on the river, they’ll take ownership of the river and keep it clean. People will come here, they’ll take ownership of it and pick up behind themselves and maybe pick up stuff that other people left behind.”

Cultural Arts Murfreesboro is looking for MTSU student input for their Acorn Music Festival this November. If any student is interested in helping organize the festival, they can contact Cultural Arts Murfreesboro via their Facebook page.

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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