KINGSPORT — Murals are definitely trending in the Model City.
Earlier this year, the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts announced that two local artists were planning to paint murals underneath two bridges along the Kingsport Greenbelt — one on Clinchfield Street near Cherokee Village and the other at Eastman Road near Olive Garden.
Betsy Robbins of Kingsport got started on her mural (the Clinchfield one) in April and finished it earlier this month. Chris Hobbs prepped the wall for the Eastman Road one about a month ago, but only recently got a chance to start spreading the paint.
“I had to finish teaching first,” Hobbs said with a smile earlier this week when asked about his mural. “I taught at Central and we finished up last week, so I’ve been coming during the night to get the big blocks of color in. This week, I’ve been here since Saturday.”
ABOUT CHRIS HOBBS
Hobbs, who turns 40 in August, is a fine arts teacher with Sullivan County and recently moved to the region after living in Asheville for about seven to eight years.
“(My wife and I) recently had a son, both grandparents are here, and this area reminds me what Asheville was 20 years ago,” Hobbs said. “Now, (Asheville) is a lot more busy, which is the reason we moved here.”
So far, Hobbs has put in about 25 hours on the mural and expects to work another 30 to 40 this week. The mural should wrap up by the weekend, he said.
These artistic endeavors came about through a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, which allowed Kingsport to contract with Robbins and Hobbs to paint the two murals.
While Robbins went with a flowery scene, Hobbs chose to go with Kingsport landmarks for his 93-foot long creation. The Eastman Road mural includes Netherland Inn, Rotherwood Mansion, Allandale, Bays Mountain and Exchange Place with the Holston River weaving throughout.
Hobbs included two suns (one rising and the other setting) and plans to add the Tennessee flag, an iris, deer, and other animals to finish out the scene.
Hannah Powell, the executive director of Kingsport’s Office of Cultural Arts, said Robbins and Hobbs have done a great job, especially since both had to deal with the weather — first rain and then the heat.
“This effort shows how much the Kingsport community appreciates the arts and when we work together we can use art to strengthen our city,” Powell said. “We hope that the people of Kingsport continue to enjoy the artwork as we showcase these two local talented artists.”