Friday, March 31, 2023

One Student’s Mural Shows the Seasons of the State


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Story by Luke Cameron | Contributing Writer

Middle Tennessee State University students and staff making the trek to the third floor of James E. Walker Library and entering the Curriculum Collection area this fall semester will have the privilege of viewing a paper mural entitled “Tennessee Landscapes,” by MTSU senior William Breeding.

The mural depicts the three grand divisions of Tennessee—West, Middle, and East—and adorns the windows outside the Curriculum Collection. West Tennessee is depicted by a rendering of a body of water abutted by lush green flatland. Middle Tennessee is represented by rolling hills, a hay field, and an apple orchard. East Tennessee shows a rock ledge looking out over tree-covered mountains. Wildlife populate each section.

“This is usually what I do, I make paper murals,” Breeding said, who is a student worker in the library. “I think this is around my eighth project.”

In his time at MTSU, Breeding has created paper murals on a variety of themes: fantasy books, fairy tales and the Walker Library grounds through the seasons. For the theme this fall semester, Breeding took his cue from Karen Reed, supervisor of the Curriculum Collection.

“This time my boss wanted three paper murals describing the three sections of Tennessee,” Breeding said. The topic is “something culturally relevant, celebrating what state you’re in.”

Breeding’s rendering took about two months to complete, from idea to finished product. The process included research, sketching, drawing, painting, and mounting, and was done this summer in order for the mural to be ready for display at the beginning of the fall semester.

Breeding hopes students enjoy seeing his art, and he hopes they come away with an appreciation for the environmental diversity in the state.

“The general message to understand would be that Tennessee is a very vast place with different landscapes,” he said. “There’s a bunch of different places to see.”

The landscapes depicted in the mural are a mental composite of the images he researched for each of the three major divisions of the state.

After researching, he sketched the outline for the mural, which he then presented to Reed. “I don’t paint before I get the okay from one of my bosses,” he said.

Once Reed gave the okay for him to continue, he progressed to the drawing stage of the process. After that, he added the color. He has not yet gotten much feedback on his mural from students, but he likes what he is hearing from his colleagues.

“My co-workers and my bosses have told me it looks nice,” Breeding said.

A visual art student, Breeding intends to graduate this coming spring. After that he has plans. “I’m hoping to get into concept art, maybe marketing illustration, trying to get my feet wet in that,” he said.

He may even have another mural ready for when the spring semester rolls around. With his graduation coming down the pike—and given the fact that a mural project takes months to complete—he will have to see what his bosses have in mind.

“They don’t want me to start something and not be able to finish it,” Breeding said.

To contact News Editor Matthew Giffin, email

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