Mural in Halls pays homage to Tennessee men’s basketball

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Artist Patrick Weeks carries a paper with a pattern on it as he climbs 15 feet to work on a unique project. Acting as a spotter and chief assistant is Steve Walker, an artist himself. The project is a 9-foot high mural honoring the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team.

The mural was commissioned by R. Larry Smith, a team historian, to be placed on the Birch Tree Plaza building he owns that serves as a museum to the team. The museum is filled with memorabilia, and the mural is his tribute to a game and team he loves.

High above the ground, Weeks ever so gently paints the lines on the brightly colored basketball. The project will take seven hours to complete.

“It’s enjoyable work,” Weeks said. “You feel a sense of accomplishment when you get it done. Working off a pattern makes it easier. It’s a little harder than doing the actual lettering.”

The mural was first created on Walker’s computer inside his studio called The Sign Guys. For Steve, the design is the most difficult part of the process.

“The design is really hard because you have to get something that customer’s really like,” he said.

Once approved, the design is transferred to a printer. Steve then takes the pattern with its perforations to a table covered with soft layers of cloth. It’s the next step that is time-consuming.

It involves intricate stenciling with a sharp knife along the perforations. Later a fine sandpaper is used to open up the holes. The result is a brightly colored, one-of-a-kind, distinctive mural for everyone to enjoy.

“I think it is going to brighten up the community and give it more of … a good feeling,” Steve Walker said. “I’m hoping that is what it does bring.”

The Birch Tree Plaza Building is off Afton Drive in Halls. The museum is open by appointment to individuals or to small groups at no cost. If interested in seeing the museum, individuals or groups should call for an appointment at 865-679-4106. 

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